Watch CBS News

Mac Jones is ready for his next opportunity -- in New England or elsewhere

Mac Jones feels he let Patriots down in 2023, and is eager for his next opportunity
Mac Jones feels he let Patriots down in 2023, and is eager for his next opportunity 00:24

FOXBORO -- Mac Jones may have disappeared from the spotlight after his permanent benching by the Patriots in Week 13, but he did not disappear from the locker room. The third-year quarterback remained a fixture inside Gillette Stadium, and used his time to better himself.

Now he's ready for his next opportunity -- whether that comes in New England or somewhere else.

Jones spoke for the first time since his demotion on Monday, as he and his Patriots teammates cleaned out their lockers following a 4-13 season. He began the year as New England's starter and looked good early on, but things quickly fell apart as the offensive line struggled to protect him and Jones continued to make mental mistakes in the face of pressure.

The Patriots were just 2-9 with Jones as the team's starting quarterback this season. He was benched mid-game four different times, and lost his starting job to Bailey Zappe in Week 13. On Monday, Jones said he let everyone down in 2023.

"I have a lot of respect for the people in this locker room, and that's where it starts. I feel like I let a lot of people down with my play," said Jones. "A lot of that is in my control and a lot of it is not. I'm going to do everything I can for my next opportunity, whether that is here, and really push forward and continue be Mac, and don't let that waver."

The Patriots drafted Jones 15th overall in 2021 and he beat out Cam Newton for the team's starting job ahead of his rookie season. The Patriots went 10-7 that year and made the playoffs, but Jones has taken several steps backward over the last two seasons. The team certainly deserves a share of the blame for his regression, given the offense that Jones was surrounded with the last two seasons.

Jones threw 12 interceptions to 10 touchdowns over his 11 starts in 2023. On Sunday, he was demoted to New England's third-string emergency quarterback behind Zappe and Nathan Rourke for the team's regular-season finale against the Jets. He has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but will likely spend that year elsewhere.

Jones isn't sure what his future holds, but he certainly sounds motivated. He didn't shut it down after his benching, and said Monday that he's been sputting in a lot of work in the weight room. He's also been studying his notes from the last three seasons to find the areas that need the most improvement.

"I feel like I made progress, especially these last couple weeks," he said. "I've been here early, left late. A lot of people would have just said, 'I'm done and I'm not going to do that.' I've worked out hard. Put on seven to eight pounds of muscle in the last couple of weeks here."

Jones said a number of times Monday that he's grateful for being drafted by the Patriots, and grateful for owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick giving him his first shot in the NFL. He's eager for that next opportunity, either in New England or with a fresh start somewhere new.

"I know it's going to come, but at the end of the day, as a quarterback and a competitor, you've got to be ready, right? So I'm going to be ready," he said. "I'm really happy to be in the NFL and be a quarterback in the NFL. Obviously, this year didn't go great, and I'm going to do everything I can to get back on the right track."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.