If Mac Jones can’t turn things around this week out in Las Vegas, it looks like he’s got a couple of people behind him coming on strong.
While Bailey Zappe has had a rough go of things when he’s come on in relief of Jones so far this season, it appears that Will Grier may have made enough progress where he’ll eventually be the next man up behind Jones.
Boston Sports Journal reporter Greg Bedard appeared on Felger & Maz earlier this week, talking about a variety of topics, and was asked about the quarterback position.
When asked on Tuesday if Cunningham could potentially get a chance, Bedard says that if Mac Jones falters, it could actually be Will Grier, and not Bailey Zappe, who would potentially be next in line.
“Not from the way [Bill] O’Brien talked about him today,” said Bedard, citing comments from O’Brien on Tuesday about Cunningham’s progress on the practice squad. “I mean, from talking to people around the team, I think if Mac Jones doesn’t succeed this week, if he doesn’t retain his job, I think it’s Will Grier’s.”
Grier has been the club’s emergency quarterback as of late, with Zappe sitting ahead of him at the backup quarterback spot. Zappe has come in twice in the last two games in relief of Jones, completing 7-of-18 (38.9%) for 79yds, including 1/7 (14.3%) on third down.
Meanwhile, it sounds like Cunningham has actually continued to make significant progress both as a receiver and at the quarterback position, with Belichick even going so far on Friday to say if that continues, his opportunity to play on game day could become a real possibility.
“Malik’s really worked hard and made a lot of improvement,” said Belichick. “He never really played in the kicking game at Louisville, so he’s started to show up there, never played receiver – didn’t look very good either, in the spring, but he’s really improved there.”
“He can catch the ball, but just route running and finding zones and things like that. But, it’s come pretty naturally to him. He plays a good amount of quarterback. He’s competent there. He’s a smart kid, works hard, and the opportunities he’s had, he’s shown a lot of improvement. It’s a little too early for an induction ceremony here, but definitely a lot of improvement.”
He was then asked if Cunningham could get an opportunity on game day, and Belichick hinted that he could indeed get a shot if he continues playing the way he has.
“Well, he’s definitely trending towards,” said Belichick. “Anybody who keeps improving is going to eventually probably get an opportunity to play.”
Hopefully, Jones can get back on track. In 2022, following the disaster that was the Chicago game, Jones went on to put together a solid stretch. He completed 197-of-301 for 1971 yards, 9 touchdowns, and just two interceptions over his next nine games.
That’s likely the same type of performance he’ll need to string together this season as well if he hopes to retain the starting role.
If not, it looks like there are players behind him who may instead get a chance and further complicate the already frustrating quarterback situation fans have had to endure so far this season.
Posted Under: Patriots News