“He said, ‘We won, but we have to improve on A, B, C and I've got to improve on A, B, C, D, E, F.' He's not settling, but I know how much that Kansas State loss bothered him.”
Whitfield told him to look at the NFL at that moment. Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers? They were all 1-2. Drew Brees was 0-3.
“Those are your best quarterbacks in the NFL, and they didn't even have a winning record coming out of the blocks,” Whitfield said. “All these guys have Super Bowl championship rings and they're all off to a tough start.
“You guys took your first one on the chin in a very, very closely contested game and yeah, you guys had some plays out there you want back and you guys gave some plays that put you guys in some chance to win the game. But if those (NFL quarterbacks) are going to put their helmets on and lace it up and go play the next weekend with a short-term memory, you've got to the do the exact same thing.”
What about the fourth-year starter's ability to handle pressure in the pocket? The Kansas State defender said they could tell Jones wasn't comfortable in a tight space.
Whitfield said that's a perception of how Kansas State felt about Jones.
“I wouldn't say that's the gospel,” Whitfield said. “But there is no such thing as a quarterback being immune to the pressure.”
Whitfield's example was to look at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. When the Giants play Brady, they say the same thing about seeing that he's nervous in the pocket — but New York has one of the best defensive lines in professional football.
So how do you get rid of a majority of the pressure? The quarterback has to be clean in the pocket and confident. Whitfield wouldn't talk about the latter, though, saying it was a subject that was “going to pass over anyway.”
“To his credit, that's something he wanted to work on,” Whitfield said of Jones. “He wanted to be able to contribute to the team by being able to do that. It's emergency-type training. We call it chaos.”
As for the sacks, it's not realistic that Jones will never be sacked. It's going to happen. It's part of football.
But Whitfield said it's something Jones continues to work on.
“You were in a great fistfight (against Kansas State),” Whitfield said he told Jones. “You didn't land the last shot in the fight … This will be an interesting footnote three months from now if you can bounce back from it.”