Patriots

Here’s why Mac Jones doesn’t want credit for pushing the pile for Damien Harris

"It shouldn’t be anything about me."

Mac Jones
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones talks in the huddle during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Presumably, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones knew the types of headlines and tweets he would generate by helping push the pile for a Damien Harris touchdown early in the second half.

Still, when he was asked about it postgame, Jones made it clear who he believes deserves the credit for Harris’s 26-yard rush — the longest run of the game on either side.

“Just doing my job,” Jones said. “Obviously sometimes it’s not run down the field. On that play, just to see Damien trying and the offensive line running down there, I felt like I could help.

“But at the end of the day, [the offensive line] made the big hole for him, and he did all the work, so it shouldn’t be anything about me.”

Running back James White would prefer to see less pile-pushing from the 23-year-old in the future.

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“He’s locked in, does whatever he has to do to help the team move the football, score touchdowns, do whatever it takes,” White said. “We’d preferably not have him down there when Damien is in the pile and everything, but he’s excited to be out there doing whatever he can to help the team.”

“Maybe I should stay back,” Jones conceded with a chuckle. “But at the end of the day, just trying to get the touchdown.”

Harris finished with 16 carries for 62 yards.

Jones came out of Sunday’s battle between rookie quarterbacks the clear victor. Not only did he help push the pile for Harris, he also executed a perfect block for Kendrick Bourne that helped the Patriots pick up a first down. He was also accurate once again — 22-for-30 as a passer for 186 yards and no interceptions.

Jones’s relative accuracy was in sharp contrast to Jets rookie Zach Wilson. Wilson was picked on his first two passes, and he finished with four interceptions total. After the game, Jones caught up with Wilson and encouraged the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

“I think Zach’s a really good player,” Jones said. “As a rookie quarterback, that’s what I told him after the game — we just have to continue getting better. It’s just part of the game. Our defense is really good. I’ve gone against them in practice and probably thrown a lot of picks too. It sucks.

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“Zach’s going to be a great player. He’s a really hard worker. He kept his head up. We just had some brief words there. I don’t know him that well personally, but he’s definitely going to continue to grow just like I will.”

For Jones, the next area of improvement is ball security. After the game, he was asked what he did best, and predictably, he ignored the question and instead focused on what needs work.

“I put the ball on the ground twice, but in terms of that, trying to learn from that,” Jones said. “I’m going to get better at that. Just ways to practice it. Whatever it is, somebody hitting the ball during practice, because in practice we don’t hit the quarterback, but there’s going to be ways we can implement that to improve.”

Sunday’s game was Jones’s first NFL victory.

“It is hard to win in the NFL,” Jones said. “We played two games and won one and lost one. You have to take it for what it’s worth. We’ll get better. I think everybody, including anybody who watched the game could agree that the offense can play better. And we will. …

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“On offense, I think we definitely feel blessed to win, but at the same time, you have to take it for what it’s worth and move on and try to correct the things we need to work on.”

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