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New England Patriots links 10/19/23 - Jones, Zappe, Grier & Cunningham ride the QB coaster

Daily news and links for Thursday.

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New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Malik Cunningham (16) celebrates after a rushing touchdown by Ezekiel Elliott
Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images

Mac Jones had a pretty good rookie year. Most New England Patriots fans and pundits alike thought the team hit the home run, finding their next franchise quarterback on the first swing in the draft. Back in 2021 heading into Week 7, the Pats’ record was 2-4 — before they ripped off seven straight wins, generating more good feelings all around.

Confidence was still high because the losses overall didn’t look too bad. Mistakes were identified and determined to be fixable - if not that year, then certainly the next. There was time. Jones was a rookie. He’d mature, the team would build around him and voilà! New England would be competitive again for the foreseeable future.

Today, the talk is about which backup quarterback will take over when Mac Jones gets the final hook. Malik Cunningham is confident, but is he ready to take over? Bailey Zappe vs. Will Grier. Trade Mac Jones? (To who, and for what?)

Then for the kicker, we get the story of how unlike the Patriots, Buffalo developed and supported Josh Allen. ‘Eesh. Doesn’t get much uglier than that. The trade talk is still in full swing with around two weeks before the Oct. 31 deadline.

Call me a diehard, but I’m still hoping for a good game on Sunday. Pats know how to game-plan against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills — they just need to execute it without intercepting and penalizing themselves out of any chance of success. And frankly, this year’s roster may straight-up not be up for the task. We’ll see.




  • Tyler Sullivan (CBS Sports) Bill Belichick’s uncertain future with Patriots: What could a new masthead look like in New England? The Patriots could be in for a seismic shift after the 2023 season.
  • Kevin Patra ( Buyers/sellers at 2023 NFL trade deadline: Will Chiefs target WR? Should Titans deal Derrick Henry? Patriots: Sellers.
  • Garrett Podell (CBS Sports) 2023 NFL trade deadline: 10 players who need to be dealt to a new team. No Pats.
  • Staff (ESPN) 2024 NFL draft order projections: Bears, Cardinals top first round. Patriots 6th.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew ( NFL RB Index, Week 7: Top 15. Plus, five running backs who could be on the move ahead of trade deadline. No Pats.
  • Interactive (ESPN) Brock Purdy could be the ultimate NFL luxury: a top-level QB playing on a cheap contract. How quickly do 31 NFL QBs earn Purdy’s $870K? Mac Jones: 427 minutes.
  • Steven Ruiz (The Ringer) QB Rankings, updated. Mac Jones 23rd: “Jones isn’t fast enough. That’s not just a knock on his lack of speed: He also doesn’t think quickly enough to get himself out of trouble. ...” More.
  • Cody Benjamin (CBS Sports) 2023 Week 7 NFL QB power rankings. Mac Jones 31st: Jones isn’t buckling to the public notions that the Patriots are preparing to pull the plug on him yet again, but he is buckling behind New England’s front. He’s now gone three straight games with zero TDs and at least one turnover.
  • Matt Verderame (SI) NFL Quarterback Rankings Week 7. Mac Jones 28th.
  • Staff (ESPN) NFL rookie QB tracker: Stroud shines, Bagent debuts.