Getty Bill Belichick stayed current on the details of the quarterback position.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is yet to reveal whether quarterback Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe will start in Week 12.

However, Belichick left the matter completely open during a press conference on Tuesday, November 16th. Belichick had previously benched Jones in favor of Zappe in a 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10.

“We have a lot to do as a team this week. We will work through these. That’s what we’re going to do this week,” Belichick said.

Belichick’s answer to a question about tanking also sheds light on who might play quarterback next. The Patriots won’t intentionally incur losses, Belichick claims, just to sign coveted USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

“I would play against players who deserve it, let’s put it that way,” Belichick said. “If they deserve to play, I will play against them. I will not play against someone who I think does not deserve to play, who is harmful to the team or who is not ready to play.”

Still, the question of which quarterback plays better or worse remains an open debate. Zappe entered the final game with a chance to win and was unable to secure a comeback victory, completing just 3-for-7 passes for 25 yards and one interception. Jones’ play remained below average with 15-20 passes for 170 yards and one interception.

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It was Zappe’s second benching of Jones this year, but the last time came during a 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Belichick said this was to avoid injury to Jones.

Either way, Jones didn’t wow in year three with 2,031 passing yards for 10 touchdowns and 10 picks. Jones had already regressed as a sophomore, rushing for 2,997 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Bailey Zappe: Time is not the only option

Jones’ struggles are not evidence that Zappe will be on the field in Week 12 on November 26 against the New York Giants.

Zappe hasn’t inspired confidence this year either, and that’s because of the preseason. His struggles in August led to his release, but the Patriots welcomed him back to the practice squad.

New England also brought in Matt Corral as another backup option, but he left the team for personal reasons. The Patriots then signed Will Grier from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad as another potential replacement.

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I really can’t imagine how people think that Bailey Zappe as quarterback of the #Patriots will change anything – they don’t have a starting caliber, let alone a franchise QB on the roster.

Mac Jones is not. It’s not Bailey Zappe. It’s not Will Grier. Malik Cunningham is not.


— Carlos (@LosTalksPats) November 13, 2023

Grier could potentially get the starting job for the Patriots’ next game. Another possibility would be fan-favorite rookie Malik Cunningham, who played quarterback in college at Louisville.

Zappe became a fan favorite as a rookie last year when he filled in for Jones. The former Western Kentucky star went 2-0, throwing for 781 yards and five touchdowns versus three interceptions in four total games.

His emergence sparked a quarterback controversy in 2022 that extended into the offseason. Zappe said during a spring camp that he would be prepared for whatever came.

Most recently, Zappe said 100% that he could take over the Patriots starting job after the loss to the Colts. However, this comes as his completion rate has dropped from 70% last year to 40% this year.

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Mac Jones injures an unknown person

Jones had an X-ray in Germany after the loss to the Colts, but downplayed it afterward.

“Yes, I’m fine. “I have a little bruise,” Jones told reporters.

Whether this will impact Jones in the future remains to be seen. He has an additional week to rest with the rest week, but the injury reports for Week 12 indicate whether Jones sustained an injury that lingered beyond the week.

Matthew Davis covers the NFL for, focusing on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. He has also covered prep sports in Minnesota as a writer for the StarTribune since 2016. More about Matthew Davis

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