Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is no stranger to keeping the status of a player under wraps ahead of game day, and it appears that will be the case this weekend at quarterback.
Coming out of the bye week, it sounds like there are still decisions being made when it comes to who will start Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
After having the weekend off, players were back at work Monday and were given one simple set of instructions from their head coach.
“I’ve told all the players the same thing,” said Belichick Tuesday. “Be ready to go.”
That means that by the time Sunday comes around, whether it’s Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, Will Grier, or even Malik Cunningham, all of them will need to have spent the week preparing as though they’re going to start.
Last week, despite reports that Jones saw action with the starters during the media portion of practice, it appears that other players were given an opportunity. Bill O’Brien made a comment Monday where he revealed Grier had also gotten reps with the first team.
Belichick explained that part of that was due to the fact that with no team to prepare for last weekend, the club simply rotated guys in and ran their own offensive plays.
“Well, last week, we had an opportunity to kind of give the guys who didn’t play as much an opportunity to run more of our stuff, less stuff off guards and scout-team things,” said Belichick. “So, that was true for everybody across the board.”
“We didn’t work on any scout team plays. We just ran our plays. So, everybody got to run what we ran. We had some guys who were out there. Some guys weren’t out there. A lot of the guys who have played a lot didn’t practice as much.”
How this all plays out is anyone’s guess. This is certainly a different situation from the one that played out ahead of the team’s match-up with the Bears last season, which saw Jones ultimately get the start in that game before giving way to Zappe.
Players in the locker room were also kept in the dark ahead of that match-up which had several of them frustrated, including both Jakobi Meyers and Rhamondre Stevenson. Both players were clearly upset after it was over, especially considering the ugly scene that unfolded for Jones as the crowd turned on him.
One year later, clearly, these are different circumstances. Unlike before he got hurt in 2022, Jones isn’t playing well, and at 2-8, a change isn’t exactly unreasonable. It also sounds like his teammates also won’t be quite as oppososed to it.
Prior to their bye week, multiple reports indicated that players within the locker room were open to the idea of someone other than Jones potentially starting, and it sounds like that’s the direction things might be heading in.
For now, they’ll head into this week with everyone getting work and a decision will obviously be made at some point. Until then, Belichick is going to keep repeating the same statement until that time comes.
“Everybody needs to be ready to go,” said Belichick. “That’s our job right now, to prepare the team to play well on Sunday. That’s all of them. Not one of them, not two of them, but all the guys. The guys who are active, if they get a chance to play, then hopefully they’ll play well, and we’ll coach well.
Posted Under: Patriots News