New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 12: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots calls out the snap count against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Mac Jones had an amusing moment on Sunday. The Patriots’ starting quarterback winked toward an ex-Pat, linebacker Elandon Roberts, just before a running play during the Pats’ 17-16 loss to the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

You can see the moment in the video below, caputred by WPRI’s Morey Hershgordon on Twitter. Jones confirmed that it was, in fact, a wink Roberts’ way.

Unfortunately, our understanding is this came on a Damien Harris run up the middle for no gain at the start of the second quarter. That checks out based on Jones’ explanation of the wink, which he gave to reporters Wednesday afternoon in Foxborough.

“It was just kind of fun and games,” Jones said. “It was just in the middle of the play. They actually like called out our play, so I was like, ah. Nice catch. You know. Anyways, it was just fun and games.”

The play indicated two main things: good preparation on the part of the Dolphins defense, and Jones’ deference to Josh McDaniels’ play-calling as a rookie making his first career start. Jones admitted he just stuck with the play that was called, despite the Dolphins seemingly knowing what was coming. Jones did change some plays at the line of scrimmage during Sunday’s game, as indicated by yelling “Alert!” among other calls and gestures.

“Sometimes they don’t know the answers, either,” Jones said.

The wink is certainly a sign of confidence and coolness under pressure for the rookie. Jones was 14-of-18 for 124 yards against the blitz on Sunday, a 95.4 passer rating. The hope is the next wink comes before a positive play.

  • Clean It Up

    Tight end Hunter Henry didn’t commit any of the Patriots’ four fumbles or five offensive penalties on Sunday. But he took accountability for the Patriots’ numerous miscues in Sunday’s loss, which did include a few missed blocks on his part up front.

    “We’ve got to clean up what we did,” Henry said. “You can’t win fotball games in the National Football League playing like we did the other day. We played a great game beside the turnovers and besides the penalties. That’s going to be true every single week. So, we’ve got to clean those things up and really take pride in them, and that starts with everybody, it’s not just the guys that are handling the ball every time, it’s finishing blocks so those guys won’t get into the scrum.”

    A video from the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan showed the Patriots’ tight ends working on ball security drills early in practice Wednesday. That’s no surprise after Sunday.

    “We obviously want no turnovers, or we want no fumbles or balls on the ground,” said tight ends coach Nick Caley on Tuesday. “So, it’s creating awareness, it’s drilling it. It’s constantly working to always improve the fundamentals of ball security, and we’re going to continue to attack that. Obviously, we don’t want any balls on the ground, period. That’s the standard. We’re going to move forward and continue to try to get better. We have to.”

  • Adrian Phillips' Leap

    One of the clear bright spots for the Patriots on Sunday was safety Adrian Phillips, who parlayed an excellent training camp into a productive game against the Dolphins. The 29-year-old came to New England a six-year veteran with the Chargers, but credited head coach Bill Belichick and team captain Devin McCourty for helping him make an unexpected leap as a player.

    “Coach says all the time – he’s been in the game 40-something years, you would think that’s a guy that’s seen everything in the book – but he’s continually learning, continually figuring out how to better himself, and I’m the same way,” Phillips said. “Being at the Chargers for six years, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the league and how I attack stuff and how I broke down film and stuff like that. But I came here with coach and being in this system, but seeing how it’s like, something totally different. Like, ‘Dang, there was a lot I didn’t know.’ It’s been fun learning, and it’s been a challenge to learn it, and I’ve accepted that challenge and used it to help me grow a whole lot more. So, I would say that I’m a way better player than I was two years ago, just from being in this system and learning something new.”

    Sep 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Adrian Phillips (21) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Adrian Phillips (21) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Phillips recorded three total tackles against the Dolphins, one of them for a loss. He most notably made two tackles during a key third-quarter drive to help force a punt.

  • No Tackle? No Problem

    The Jets will be without starting left tackle Mekhi Becton against the Patriots, after he was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. According to Adam Schefter, Becton needs arthroscopic knee surgery to repair damaged cartilage and will miss 4-6 weeks. But don’t tell Belichick the Jets are screwed without him.

    ” I mean he’s a good player, obviously, but [Morgan] Moses has been a starting tackle in this league for a number of years, so flipping [George] Fant over and bringing Moses in, I mean Moses has a pretty good track record as a tackle in this league, too, so Fant’s a guy that made the switch. I think they’re still pretty good at that position, and they have [Chuma] Edoga, too,” Belichick said during his press conference Wednesday. “So I mean that’s really, I’d say, that’s probably one of the deepest positions on their rosters is tackle even without Becton. Obviously he’s an outstanding player. Outstanding young prospect, but even without him, they’ve got pretty good depth there.”