Patriots OC implies starting QB is open for Week 12

Sep 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) and quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) talk with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien left the door open Monday that Mac Jones might not be the starting quarterback in Week 12 for the 2-8 Patriots.

Meeting with reporters coming out of their bye week, O’Brien hinted that this week’s starter against the New York Giants (3-8) could be determined in practice.

“For me, I basically get everybody ready to play,” O’Brien said when asked if Jones was still the team’s starter. “At the end of the day, Bill (Belichick) will make that decision at some point and we’ll go from there.”

O’Brien said Jones still took first-team reps last week but said backup Bailey Zappe and third-string QB Will Grier also “rotated in there.”

“You have to strive for perfection on the practice field and then hopefully that leads to good execution in the games,” O’Brien said. “Right now, we haven’t had consistent enough execution in the games. … We have to have good practices, and then we can all determine, at every position, who should play the most.”

Jones was benched — again — in the Patriots’ ugly loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany on Nov. 12. The end of his day came after badly underthrowing an open Mike Gesicki in the end zone. It was the third time this season Jones has been yanked from a game.

O’Brien erupted at Jones earlier in the game on the sideline.

“I think that was just coaching in the moment,” O’Brien said. “That’s kinda the way I coach. Sometimes the way to get a point across is to be very demanding and very intense about it. That’s just the way I coach. That’s who I am. That’s how I’ve always coached. Sometimes that rubs certain players the wrong way. Sometimes players want that. I don’t want to speak for Mac, but I think Mac wants to be coached.”

Jones, 25, has thrown for 2,031 yards and 10 touchdowns against 10 interceptions this season. The Patriots picked him 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

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