Some news and notes for this morning:
QB Questions Looming
Mac Jones’ benching on Sunday likely signals a change coming at quarterback when the team eventually takes the field again, with the only question being who that might ultimately be.
Bailey Zappe obviously finished out Sunday’s game, with Will Grier dressed as the club’s emergency quarterback. When asked about the decision to bring Zappe in at that point in the game, Belichick said during his appearance on The Greg Hill Show on Monday that he felt confident in the second-year QB, noting that the 2-minute drill was something Zappe had executed well recently.
“Yeah, we’ve worked the two-minute drill,” said Belichick when asked if Zappe was ready coming into that moment. “He’s got a lot of opportunities on that, and he’s actually done pretty well with it.”
Zappe threw into triple coverage on the interception that ended their comeback hopes but hinted to reporters he felt like there should have been a penalty called, which may have meant he thought he had a free play.
When Belichick was asked if he knew anything about that or saw anything he felt should have been called by the officials, he answered with a flat “No.”
The question now is whether or not Zappe will get another opportunity to start in two weeks. Belichick said, “I don’t know, we haven’t really talked about that,” when it came to what the plan is moving forward at quarterback.
While the club had been working Malik Cunningham at receiver, he’s also reportedly seen some reps at QB in practice at points this season and did take some snaps under center in Las Vegas against the Raiders back in Week 6.
Whether or not he’ll factor into this mix is something everyone will certainly be watching as the Patriots continue turning the page coming out of the bye week.
(PHOTO:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)
CB Jones’ Frustrating Tenure Ends
Former fourth-round draft pick Jack Jones was waived by the club on Monday, ending a turbulent time here in New England for the second-year defensive back.
Jones seemingly had a promising career ahead of him after the Patriots took a chance on the troubled Arizona State standout in the 2022 Patriots Draft Class.
He had a solid rookie season, finishing with two interceptions, including a pick-six of Aaron Rodgers during New England’s Week 4 meeting against the Packers.
But things fell apart from there. His troubles began near the end of the season after he suffered a knee injury against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14. He was inactive for the next two games, but there were reported issues during his recovery which led to him ultimately being suspended internally by the club late last year.
That situation only complicated things further ahead of the offseason.
However, Bill Belichick preached a fresh start heading into 2023, saying back in March that the discipline involving his player was “over,” with the club turning the page to this season.
The work continued through minicamps and OTAs and everything seemed normal overall. Belichick seemingly felt good about where things were as a whole, including ending things a bit early for his players before the team headed off for its final break ahead of training camp.
Unfortunately, that’s when Jones was arrested at Logan Airport on gun charges after allegedly bringing loaded weapons through security. Suddenly, it created a brand new problem they would have to deal with.
Still, the Patriots stood by him. They could have easily parted ways with him, but instead, it was business as usual for Jones when training camp started. Jones practiced as normal as the team put off discussing his pending legal issues.
When the charges were miraculously dropped, the hope was that the clean slate might mean a new start as the regular season kicked off. However, his plans were stalled after a hamstring injury saw him start things off on injured reserve, with Jones not seeing any action until Week 7 against Buffalo.
Jones played in 51% of the snaps in that outing, and was in on 58% of the plays the following week against Miami. But he and J.C. Jackson missed curfew two weeks ago ahead of their game against the Commanders, and things certainly seemed off from there.
He and Jackson were both sat down to start the game, and those troubles carried over after Jackson was left behind, while Jones was again sat down ahead of Sunday’s game in Germany. He ultimately played just ten snaps, and whatever transpired proved to be the breaking point.
Belichick told reporters on Tuesday, “I felt like it was time to move on,” as it pertained to Jones.
His agent released a statement thanking the Patriots for drafting his client, adding, “Jack is an immense talent and looks forward to making an immediate contribution on his next team as soon as Sunday.”
According to Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi, Jones’ “behavior/engagement” in Germany wasn’t to the level the team had hoped for following his previous benching against the Commanders, which led to the decision.
Belichick also confirmed the team has no plans on bringing him back to the practice squad.
(PHOTO: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)
Wade’s Role Growing
Jones’ departure leaves the club still pretty thin at defensive back. They’ve been fortunate that Shaun Wade has come on as of late, which allows them to weather this breakup after Wade played pretty well after being in on 88% of the snaps in Germany on Sunday.
Belichick had praise for Wade on Tuesday, noting that his growth could see him continue to seeing even more playing time.
“Shaun’s responded well,” said Belichick. “He had another solid week of practice. [He] played very competitively in the game. Made a tackle for us on the tear-screen, [Michael] Pittman on the third-and-11. Made a play on that, short of first down, those kinds of situations. He’s taken advantage of his opportunities, and that may lead to more.”
Myles Bryant has also picked up a lot of the slack, playing in 72% of the snaps on Sunday.
The question now is whether or not Jackson will get back in line. He’s another player with not much leeway, especially for someone who was already having issues in Los Angeles before the Patriots traded for him and brought him back.
One would think he has to know this is potentially his last stop, and whether or not he’s able to just play football will likely decide how much longer he lasts with the team.
They’ll obviously have some interesting decisions to make, as the Patriots still have seven games remaining to try and make something positive out of 2023.
Posted Under: Patriots News