- The Patriots have two quarterbacks contending for the starting job in New England.
- This week, head coach Bill Belichick repeatedly side-stepped questions about who would take the top spot on the depth chart heading into Week 8.
- We’ll know where things stand once the Patriots take the field on Sunday against the Jets.
The Patriots faced a difficult question heading into their Monday night matchup against the Chicago Bears: Who should be starting at quarterback?
Mac Jones, who began the season as the starter after a relatively successful rookie campaign in 2021, was ready to return from an injury sustained earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, rookie Bailey Zappe, who had taken over the Patriots offense in Jones’ stead, was playing well, and had led New England to two straight wins.
Jones ultimately got the start, but not without some ominous reports just before kickoff — according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there was a good chance both quarterbacks would get to play in primetime.
—Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 25, 2022
Barring injury, this is not what usually happens in professional football. But as it turned out, Schefter’s report quickly proved correct.
After Jones struggled to start the game — he completed just three of six passes and threw an interception as the Patriots quickly fell into a 10-0 deficit — Belichick turned to Zappe in the second quarter.
Zappe provided an immediate spark to the offense, leading the Patriots on two quick touchdown drives to take a 14-10 lead. For a moment, it felt as though the matter was settled.
But the moment didn’t last long. In the second half, Zappe threw two interceptions of his own, struggling much the same way Jones had, and New England ultimately lost 33-14.
After the game, Zappe revealed that going into the day, he hadn’t known who was starting.
—Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 25, 2022
Now two days removed from the game, Belichick continues to keep his messaging cloudy, apparently determined to not reveal who his starting quarterback is until absolutely necessary.
On Tuesday, he dismissed questions about the depth chart as “hypothetical.”
—Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 25, 2022
On Wednesday, Belichick continued to hold his poker face.
“We’ll see how it goes today,” he repeatedly told reporters as they pressed for an answer.
—Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 26, 2022
Belichick has always handled the media in his own way, whether insisting his team was “on to Cincinnati,” or offering extremely detailed, if long-winded, exaltations on upcoming opponents.
As Zappe explained after Monday’s game, Belichick seems fine to even withhold the decision from his own players.
That said, he can only keep this particular wall of silence up for so long.
On Wednesday, just hours after Belichick’s latest stonewalling, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that Jones had taken the majority of snaps in practice and was set to start on Sunday.
—Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 26, 2022
Just how much Belichick will have to say about Jones taking the starting job remains to be seen.