While the New England Patriots haven’t moved on from quarterback Mac Jones yet, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien dropped a clear hint on the team’s direction.
“For me, I basically get everybody ready to play,” O’Brien told reporters on Monday, November 20. “At the end of the day, Bill [Belichick] will make that decision at some point and we’ll go from there.”
Jones hasn’t produced as the Patriots hoped this season amid a 2-8 start. His second benching of the season in Germany spurred speculation of Bailey Zappe taking over.
However, Zappe hasn’t looked markedly better when he has played this season. Fellow backups Will Grier and Malik Cunningham haven’t thrown passes at all this season.
O’Brien wouldn’t hint at if the Patriots have any leanings on who will be under center in Week 12 against the New York Giants.
“I really believe this and believe this is important to say: I think that anything that’s spoken within the origination in football, stays within the organization, within the staff,” O’Brien said. “I appreciate the question and know why you’d ask the question, but I think anything that’s spoken within myself, the quarterbacks, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, whatever, stays within the organization. I have a strong belief in that.”
That doesn’t imply that the Patriots are set on playing someone else besides Jones going forward. O’Brien expressed his confidence in the third-year quarterback.
“Everything’s fixable,” O’Brien said. “I think at times Mac has played really well. I think that’s what we have to remember [is that] at times this year Mac has played really well
“I don’t believe in yips or anything like that,” O’Brien added. “Mac has played well. Mac will play well again.”
Mac Jones Hasn’t Matched Best Performance Since Week 1 as Patriots Face Steep Climb
It’s been a while since Jones threw for more than 200 yards, at least two touchdowns, avoided interceptions, and completed over 60% of his passes in one game. That last happened in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
For now the Patriots will keep practicing and working on improving with slim-to-none playoff hopes on the line.
“I do believe that we have to continue like we do all the time, to earn it on the practice field, coaches and players,” O’Brien explained. “We have to practice better. We have to earn it on the practice field. All the way around. That’s what we’ll do.”
Patriots Insider Predicts Third String for Mac Jones
If and how far Jones will drop on the depth chart remains to be seen. Patriots insider Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston previously said on the “Rich Eisen Show” last week that Jones could drop to third string.
“Mac Jones is going to almost certainly sit,” Curran told Eisen. “I think he’ll probably be dropped down to third-string. You’re gonna elevate Will Grier and you’re gonna elevate the player that took the final snaps the other day…Bailey Zappe.”
“If I was a betting man, and I don’t have any intel on this, but Will Grier gets the reps to be the starter, and if he fails in that, then Zappe would start and Grier would be No. 2 and you proceed through the end of the year and try to maintain the culture.”
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