Mike ReissESPN Editor3 minute read
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not announce his starting quarterback for Sunday’s road game against the New York Giants, and deviated when asked him if he had made a decision behind the scenes.
“I told all the players the same thing: Be ready to go. So I hope they are,” Belichick said Tuesday morning.
Pressed on the subject during his first press briefing of the week, Belichick added: “I’ll let you know on Sunday.”
Belichick’s remarks came a day after offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien suggested the week of practice will determine whether Belichick sticks with starter Mac Jones — whom he benched late in the fourth quarter from the team’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10 — or turns to primary backup Bailey Zappe or No. 3 option Will Grier.
“It will be based on what I think is best for the team,” Belichick said.
The Patriots (2-8) just completed their bye weekend and held a practice last week, with O’Brien noting that Jones repeated first-team reps while Zappe and Grier alternated. Belichick explained that it was an opportunity to give those who haven’t played as much to manage the team’s system more instead of playing as a scout team.
On Tuesday, Belichick was peppered with questions about the quarterback position, including whether undrafted rookie Malik Cunningham — a practice squad receiver/quarterback — could be in the mix.
Each time, he repeated some variation of: “I told every player to be ready to play. We’ll see how things go from there.”
When asked if it would impact how the team plans the game based on who plays the quarterback position, Belichick responded: “I think whoever we put there will be capable of doing what we ask it to do.”
Jones has been scratched in three games this season and is 212 of 324 for 2,031 yards, with 10 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He was sacked 21 times.
Zappe is 10 of 25 for 104 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception.