Like it or not, one of the biggest conversations around the New England Patriots this week centers on yet another alleged dirty play from Mac Jones. Pats fans aren’t interested in hearing what most talking heads have to say about the issue, but when Devin McCourty weighs in, we listen. The former Patriots captain is known for being a smart, thoughtful guy, and he’s someone whose words we should give some credence.
McCourty insisted that he doesn’t think Jones is a dirty player, but what he went on to say sends the opposite message.
Two things really stand out with what McCourty has to say here, and one of them is getting way overlooked in the way this interview has been covered.
The obvious one: sometimes intent doesn’t matter. If you’re involved in multiple potential “dirty play” incidents, you’re going to start losing the benefit of the doubt. Every additional one that piles up makes it harder and harder to excuse as coincidence, or “wrong place, wrong time.”
But what stands out as especially interesting are McCourty’s closing thoughts.
He repeatedly says that he doesn’t think Mac is a dirty guy or a dirty player. He knows and respects Mac. But what does this final sentence mean, if not that Jones is doing these things?
"Somewhere along the line in his competitive edge he’s doing things that you don’t really need to have on the football field ever."
McCourty straight up admits that Mac is doing the things he’s being accused of (and who can argue that point, since they’re on video?). He also admits that what Mac is doing has no place on the football field.
So if we want to split hairs about what it takes for a player to be dirty or not we can, but McCourty fully admits that Jones’ actions are dirty, and that they’re his fault.
Do you love seeing something get fired up and play with a competitive edge? Of course, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to do whatever you want.
I’m not willing to entertain Gardner’s complaints, and I’m not willing to entertain Jets fans’ complaints. But McCourty is someone whose opinion I really respect, and Mac would be wise to heed his warning too.