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Belichick Refuses Sports

Bill Belichick Refuses to Name Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe as Patriots QB1 vs. Chargers

Bill Belichick Refuses to Name Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe as Patriots QB1 vs. Chargers
Adam WellsDecember 1, 2023

Foxborough, MA - November 21: New England Patriots QBs Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Amid reports that Bailey Zappe is set to make his first start of the season for the New England Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick still won’t tip his hand about the team’s quarterback competition.

Belichick told reporters on Friday he’s “not going to announce starters at any position” as Zappe and Mac Jones compete to start on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported on Wednesday that Zappe is being prepared to start and “it should be his job” if all goes as expected this week in practice.

Belichick takes this approach all the time when it comes to positional battles, but especially at the quarterback spot. He said practically the same thing one week ago leading up to a game against the New York Giants.

Mark Daniels @ByMarkDaniels

Is the plan to start Mac Jones at QB?

Belichick: I told everybody ready to go. I’m not going to announce starters at every position.

Jones wound up getting the start against the Giants, but it didn’t go well and didn’t last long. He finished 12-of-21 for 89 yards and two interceptions before being benched at halftime.

This was the fourth time Jones was benched in the first 11 games of the season. The first three times all came in the fourth quarter of losses to the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

Zappe went 9-of-14 for 54 yards and one interception in relief of Jones last week. He got the Patriots in position for a game-tying field goal near the end of regulation, but Chad Ryland’s kick was wide left to preserve a 10-7 win for the Giants.

Jones has started each of the Patriots’ 11 games this season. His 36.5 QBR ranks 28th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks, ahead of only Bryce Young (32.1) and Zach Wilson (30.7).

A 2022 fourth-round draft pick out of Western Kentucky, Zappe went 2-0 in two starts as a rookie. He has thrown for 939 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions in eight career appearances.

The Patriots enter this week with the worst record in the AFC at 2-9. They have the second-worst offense in the league with 13.5 points per game.

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