The New England Patriots starting quarterback for Week 12 remains a mystery, and Bill Belichick had no issues keeping it that way during his Tuesday press conference.
“I told all the players the same thing: be ready to go,” he said. “Hopefully, they will be.”
Throughout his nine minute press conference, Belichick used some form of “be ready/prepared to go” 12 times when fielding questions about the quarterback position. That now leaves four players - Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, Will Grier, and Malik Cunningham - as the ones who need to be ready to go.
Speaking on Monday, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien hinted that this week of practice will be key in deciding the starting quarterback. Belichick, however, would not expand on the idea of a competition.
“It’ll be based on what I think is best for the team,” he said.
The quarterback position is again at center stage as Jones was benched for Bailey Zappe in a 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts - in which the third-year quarterback threw another ugly interception.
Zappe entered the game trailing by four with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter and threw his own bad interception shortly after.
If the Patriots do move away from Jones, Zappe would likely get the call. But, O’Brien noted that both Zappe and Will Grier “rotated in” with Jones during the team’s lone practice of the bye week last Wednesday.
“Well, last week we had an opportunity to kind of give the guys that didn’t play as much an opportunity to run more of our stuff,” Belichick said. “Less stuff off cards and scout-team things. That was pretty much true for everybody across the board. We didn’t work on any scout-team plays. We just ran our plays, so everybody got to run what we ran. We had some guys who were out there; some guys weren’t out there. A lot of the guys that have played a lot didn’t practice as much.”
The Patriots return to the practice fields on Tuesday for their first of three sessions this week, where each QB will have one job: get ready to go.
“Everybody needs to be ready to go,” Belichick added. “That’s where we are for today. Today’s Tuesday. Go out there, be prepared, be ready to take advantage of their opportunities and we’ll go to Wednesday.”
As for when the starting decision may be made, Belichick said: “I’ll let you know on Sunday.”