Belichick refuses to shed light on starting QB decision for Patriots

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) scrambles against Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) in the first half of an NFL football game in Frankfurt, Germany Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) scrambles against Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) in the first half of an NFL football game in Frankfurt, Germany Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) Martin Meissner

New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) winds up to pass during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) winds up to pass during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

By JIMMY GOLEN

Associated Press

Published: 11-21-2023 3:57 PM

Modified: 11-21-2023 3:57 PM


Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to reveal his starting quarterback when talking to reporters Tuesday morning, repeating only that all of his players should be prepared when New England comes out of its off week to face the New York Giants on Sunday.

“I’ve told all the players the same thing: Be ready to go,” Belichick said. “Hopefully, they will be.”

Pressed on the question more than a dozen times in the eight minute availability, Belichick repeated a version of the same answer. Asked if he had made a decision, he said, “We’ll let you know on Sunday.”

2021 first-round draft choice Mac Jones has started every game this season, but he hasn’t been able to finish three of them — twice in blowouts when Belichick said there was no point in sending him out there, and again in Week 10, a 10-6 loss to Indianapolis. With a chance to rally the Patriots, Bailey Zappe was 3 of 7 for 25 yards and finished by throwing an interception on a fake-spike play to seal the game.

Zappe, a fourth-round draft pick in 2022, appeared in four games, starting two — both wins — last season. The Patriots also have Will Grier, who started three games for Carolina in 2019, on the roster and rookie Malik Cunningham on the practice squad.

Asked whether all of them would be able to get the reps in practice to show what they can do, Belichick repeated, “Everybody needs to be ready to go.” He noted that Giants starter Daniel Jones was injured and replaced by Tommy DeVito in the Giants’ game against the Cowboys, and that regardless of who starts the others need to be ready.

“That could happen on the first play of the game. It could happen in the middle of the game. Everybody needs to be ready to go,” Belichick said. “That’s our job right now, to prepare the team to play well on Sunday. That’s all of them. Not one of them, not two of them, but all the guys. The guys who are active, if they get a chance to play, then hopefully they’ll play well, and we’ll coach well.”

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