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Patriots are getting closer to finding out what kind of team they are, says Bill Belichick

Related: How a mid-week practice change played a role in New England’s victory over Detroit

Detroit Lions v New England Patriots Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

Five weeks into the regular season and as the owners of a 2-3 record, the New England Patriots remain a work in progress. According to head coach Bill Belichick, however, their identity as a team continues to manifest itself with every passing week.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Belichick was asked if he would already know what he has in his 2022 team. His answer? Not yet, but the Patriots are getting there.

“We’re getting closer, sure. We’re getting closer,” Belichick said. “We know a lot more than we knew at the start of September, that’s for sure. So, keep working through it here.”

In the past, the Patriots have usually treated the first few weeks of the season as a ramp-up period of sorts. Preseason being reduced to three instead of four games only added to this in recent years even though the goal remains the same: as Belichick has stated previously, crunch time is not starting until after Thanksgiving.

This year’s season is obviously not at that point just yet, and the Patriots continue to find out who they really are. That they have been forced to start three different quarterbacks in the last three weeks has not helped this self-finding process, though.

Regular starter Mac Jones went down with an ankle injury in Week 3, and was briefly replaced by Brian Hoyer the following week before he himself was knocked out with a concussion. Since that game in Green Bay, rookie third-stringer Bailey Zappe has led the offense — playing some admirable football along the way while leading New England to a 1-1 record in games without Jones.

Fact is, however, that the high ankle sprain suffered by QB1 has had an impact on the Patriots’ development.

“Obviously, we’ve had some changes at the quarterback position over the last five weeks — three different players playing that position. But we’ll find more continuity there, hopefully, and see what happens,” Belichick said on Wednesday. “That’s something we have to work through, but every team deals with something. So, it is what it is.”

As far as the quarterback position itself is concerned, Belichick was noncommittal on Wednesday. Neither did he give any updates on Jones’ status for the upcoming game against the Cleveland Browns, nor did he give clear answers when asked if he would immediately resume the starting spot if ready to go again.

What he did point out, though, is that Jones’ timetable and Bailey Zappe’s solid performances the last two weeks need to be evaluated independently from one another. Zappe playing well does impact how the Patriots view Jones’ recovery process.

“They’re totally independent,” Belichick said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

For what it is worth, though, Jones reportedly has a “decent chance” to take the field against Cleveland — possibly starting to give the Patriots the continuity that they are looking for at the most important position on the field.