With the New England Patriots set to travel to Cleveland tomorrow for their match-up against the Browns on Sunday, Bill Belichick continued to offer little in terms of Mac Jones’ potential return this weekend.
Belichick told reporters on Friday that Jones has continued making strides, but to no one’s surprise he didn’t offer up much to make anyone believe that Jones could possibly see the field against the Browns.
“Mac, I think, is making good improvement and we’ll see where he is today,” said Belichick. “Certainly, he’s doing a lot more this Thursday than he did last Thursday and I imagine Friday, the same thing, but I mean we’ll see.”
Jones has missed the past two games thanks to the ankle injury he suffered on the team’s final offensive play in Baltimore. On the play, Jones took a shot just before he released the football on a target Kendrick Bourne, which was picked off for Jones’ third interception on the afternoon.
The second-year quarterback ended up on the ground after the hit and Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell landed on top of Jones’ ankle, which led to the second-year quarterback needing to be carried down the stairs to the locker room after he hopped off the field in obvious pain.
Since then, he’s been trying to work his way back, with Brian Hoyer and Bailey Zappe carrying on the workload in his absence.
But things changed fairly quickly. Hoyer lasted just 10 minutes into the game against the Packers before suffering a head injury that sidelined him, which thrust Zappe into the line-up. The rookie played well, with New England forcing overtime against Green Bay before ultimately leaving Wisconsin with a loss.
Last week, with Jones still showing a noticeable limp in practice, Zappe went out and started Sunday’s game against Detroit. The rookie ended up completing 17-of-21 for 188-yards along with a touchdown, and he led the Patriots to a 29-0 blowout win over the Lions. That performance saw Zappe and the offense put up 22 points in what was a fairly solid effort by the Western Kentucky standout.
Zappe spoke with the media on Wednesday, which is usually customary for a quarterback who is likely to get the starting nod that weekend. While Belichick left the door open for Jones to potentially be cleared, which he said, “could happen at any time,” the likelihood of that happening definitely feels like a longshot.
Belichick did say that Saturdays in situations like this are key, because often times players who could be close to ready to play, Belichick said that’s the day when some of those decisions tend to happen.
“We’ll see where it is,” Belichick said. “If it’s better on Saturday than it was on Friday, then maybe it’s a game-day workout. If it’s worse, then we probably would downgrade the player. If it feels great today and tomorrow it feels great, then we’re good to go.”
“But that’s why Saturday is an important day in this whole process. I mean, I know everybody wants a definite answer, but it’s just totally unrealistic to be able to do that. I don’t know how a player is going to feel after three days of practice depending on what the volume is or the intensity is, that’s impossible to know that until you actually experience it, or he experiences it. So we’ll see.”
If Jones can’t go this weekend, the next opportunity would potentially come 10 days from now when the team plays the Chicago Bears in a Monday night game at Gillette Stadium on October 24th, which would be about a month since the quarterback originally suffered the injury (he was injured on 9/25).
The Bears are currently coming off a 12-7 loss on Thursday night to the Commanders, which also gives them a headstart in preparation heading into that match-up.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Season
Tags: 2022 Patriots Season Bill Belichick Mac Jones New England Patriots Patriots injuries