FOXBOROW, Massachusetts. New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones reflected on his trip to the University of Kentucky this week as he saw the big challenge facing the Patriots.

It was in Kentucky, before he went to Alabama, when he learned about the “flick the switch” approach. And that’s what he thinks the Patriots — ranked 31st out of 32 teams in red zone touchdown percentage — could benefit from a Thanksgiving road game against the Minnesota Vikings (20:20 ET). time, NBC).

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“They fought in the red zone and their goal was to flip the switch. When you start to enter this fringe [area], red area, press the switch. This is where you really need to figure it out,” Jones said in his weekly interview with WEEI sports radio.

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“I used it a bit in Alabama too. Right now, this is our biggest area where we need to flip the switch and do something good.”

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In Sunday’s 10-3 win over the New York Jets, the Patriots had a practice session on how to flip the switch – in wrong direction.

On his first trip into the red zone, tight end Jonnu Smith potentially scored a touchdown in a timely end round, but fumbled the ball in an attempt to switch it to the outside hand. He was lucky to get the ball back.

Two plays later, receiver Kendrick Bourne appeared to be misaligned, costing the team five yards for the misalignment.

They were examples of how the patriots did not do fundamental things and thus made life more difficult for themselves than necessary. In the end, they settled on a short field goal.

Then, during their second and final trip to the top 20, things looked promising in third and 2nd out of the Jets’ top 7 before the fight hit arguably its lowest point.

A right tackle by Yodni Kazhuste was penalized for a hold, leaving him third and 12th. Then left tackle Trent Brown was beaten as Jones dropped for a sack and lost nine yards.

It turned a 25-yard field goal into a 44-yard field goal that cost a lot on a windy day when kicker Nick Faulk lost.

“A lot of it comes down to our performance – not talking about sacks, getting points. We’re trying to get a positive game,” Jones said. “We’re retreating too far.”

This problem goes beyond the red zone, as the Patriots have played 34 games (not counting penalties) in the last three games in which they have been in the negative. That’s a high number, and while the Jets and Colts’ defense is to be commended for it, the Patriots believe they take football to the next level when they stop hurting themselves.

As for the red zone, Jones said there’s been increased awareness in recent weeks, adding: “We’ve been focusing on that over and over again. For now, it’s time to just go out and do it.”

“We have no problem moving the ball,” added running back Ramondre Stevenson, who leads the Patriots (6-4) with 644 yards, 144 carries (4.5 YPC) and four touchdowns. “Once we get into their territory, we don’t succeed. This is something we need to work on.”

Thursday could be a good time for a breakout as the Vikings (8-2) sit in last place in the NFL, allowing the opposition to hit 20 touchdowns in 28 trips to the red zone.

Coach Bill Belichick has seen a lot of good offensive play in the red zone in his 48-year NFL coaching career, and one word stands out for him when he considers the characteristics of a good offense in the 20s.

“Balance,” he said. “Run it. Drop it.”

This is what the Patriots strive to do on Thanksgiving – with the flip of a switch.