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Patriots’ lone bye week practice hints at current quarterback pecking order

New England returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday.

New England Patriots Practice Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

With a trip to Germany in the rear-view mirror, and a bye coming up, the New England Patriots were back on the practice fields on Wednesday for their lone session of the week. While only the first few minutes were open to the media, that was enough to give us a look at what appears to be the current pecking order at quarterback.

Based on that, Mac Jones still looks like the top option. The former first-round draft pick, who was benched late during the Patriots’ 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, was the first quarterback to go through reps and work with the first-team offense.

Backups Bailey Zappe and Will Grier, meanwhile, were the second and third options. They were surrounded by the backup and scout-team players.

With the aforementioned bye coming up and players off Thursday through Sunday, the coaching staff could still decide to make a move ahead of the next practice on Tuesday. As of right now, however, the No. 1 quarterback spot still looks like it belongs to Jones.

A first-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2021, Jones has struggled this season. Completing 212 of 324 pass attempts in 10 games (65.4%) he has gained 2,031 yards while throwing 10 touchdowns and interceptions apiece. He also was benched on three separate occasions this year, the most recent of which seemingly the most damning.

With the Patriots trailing by four late against the Colts, Jones and the Patriots offense marched into the opponent’s red zone. However, the third-year passer threw a bad interception on a well-designed play and was not on the field for the next offensive series: he was replaced by Bailey Zappe, who himself threw an interception, to end the game.

Afterwards, head coach Bill Belichick was not willing to make any comments about who would be his team’s starting QB moving forward.

“We’ve got a lot of things to work on this week as a team and we’ll work through those,” he said on Tuesday. “That’s what we’re going to do this week.”

As for Jones, he also did not get any information whether he would keep his job post-bye.

“No, we haven’t talked about that,” Jones said during an appearance on WEEI on Tuesay. “Really just today, we watched the game film and kind of talked about the plans for the bye week. We have practice [Wednesday], so just see how it goes there. The bye week’s a great time to work on things you can do better, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Patriots will be back on the practice fields next Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, followed by a Saturday walkthrough. They will then fly to New York to take on the 2-8 Giants on Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.