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Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is taking heat for a dirty hit on Bengals cornerback Eli Apple during Saturday’s game.
OutKick’s Grayson Weir covered the hit.
“Near the end of Saturday’s game, Cincinnati came up with a fumble. As Germaine Pratt took the loose ball down the sideline, Jones was hot in pursuit,” Weir wrote.
“However, once the play was clearly out of reach, he decided to turn his focus away from Pratt and appeared to make an extremely dirty block/hit against cornerback Eli Apple. Jones slowed to a near-complete stop and went low on the Bengals defender— well behind the play.
“Apple, at that point, was completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of the return. He was a trailing blocker that did not have much opportunity to step in and add value.
“Jones went low and cut him anyway.”
That’s a pretty good description of what happened. But you can judge for yourself.
Not the first time players have accused Mac Jones of dirty play
Jones took heat from pretty much everyone. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for what he did.
This is not the first time the Patriots quarterback has been accused of dirty play, a fact that Eli Apple referenced when NESN asked him about the hit.
“He tripped me. I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before, I’ve seen it.”
Mac Jones defends himself
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Jones appeared on Boston radio on Monday morning. The WEEI hosts asked him about the play.
I went down in front of him to kind of get in the way to stop him from slowing down Tyquan, who obviously could make the tackle there. So just kind of went down in front of him, trying to stop a fast guy from getting to another fast guy. It’s a split-second decision and there’s a lot that goes into it. You’re out there trying to compete, it’s a physical game. So just trying to help the team win. I have all the respect for Eli and the Bengals. They played a great game. So, there’s no hard feelings and definitely no intention to hurt anybody on that play. Nor do I believe that when I’m playing quarterback, that’s what [the defense is intending to do]; I get hit a lot, too. We’re all out there playing hard. It’s just part of the game.Patriots QB Mac Jones on WEEI (via ESPN)
Odd word choices in Jones’ explanation
There are some issues with his explanation. Getting in Eli Apple’s way is reasonable. He doesn’t want to allow Apple to block Tyquan Thornton. However, cutting him in that way is complete unnecessary.
Simply getting in Apple’s way would have been plenty to keep him from getting back into the play.
Also, throwing out the “I get hit a lot, too” is really, really lame. That’s like when someone shows up late and you say, “hey you’re late” and they respond with “You’ve been late before!”
The correct response is “Sorry I’m late.” The fact that I was late two years ago is not relevant and it’s externalizing your mistake rather than internalizing.
Jones is attempting to deflect from what he knows was a dirty play. “It’s just part of the game” is another inexcusable response. Almost all other players manage to play the game without being labeled as dirty players.
Although, this is likely more of a “don’t tell me, show me” situation. You don’t shed the dirty player label by talking about it.
Mac Jones needs to prove it by not having these plays keep happening.
The best way to not be labeled a dirty player is to not make dirty plays.
It ain’t rocket science, Mac.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ