It's no secret that Mac Jones was brutal against the Giants. He looked very off from a mechanical standpoint, and the killer turnovers were still in his system. And so, to the bench he went for Bailey Zappe, who, despite not looking phenomenal by any means, was a clear step up from what Jones gave the Patriots in the Meadowlands.
So it was no surprise to hear from several members of the Patriots beat, that only Zappe and Malik Cunningham were the lone quarterbacks seen warming up during the media access portion of practice. Then, in the late hours of Wednesday, the word came from Jeff Howe of the Athletic, that Zappe was the expected starter for the Patriots in this week's matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Return of the Zapp(e)
If anything, I was surprised that this move wasn't made out of the bye, but with a Thursday Night game in Pittsburgh on deck, this also makes a fair amount of sense. Now, will Zappe make a world of difference from here on out based on how things have gone? I feel confident in saying no, especially with the defenses the Patriots play on the horizon (Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and New York). What benching Jones for Zappe does, however, is get someone under center who doesn't look completely broken, and can give teams a different look than what they've been getting since late September.
Taking Things in Stride
The one thing that Jones understandably deserves some credit for is how he's seemingly handled things internally in 2023. Even though all the on and off-field stuff he's had to deal with, his teammates have had nothing but good things to say about him publically, and that rang true yesterday as well, with Juju Smith Schuster saying some words about the seemingly new QB3 on the depth chart.
"[Mac Jones] has been great. That dude, I'll tell you one thing, his attitude with everything going on, he's a very positive dude. A proffesional. Very supportive of everyone"
This whole situation has to be tough on him. To go from a top-15 pick in the draft to where things are right now is not unprecedented, but certainly not ideal. While Jones has not progressed in 2023, and perhaps even regressed, this large chunk of the blame for what has happened since January of 2022 with Jones falls at the feet of one man: Bill Belichick. He stuck him with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge last year, he whiffed as the GM, failing to get him good enough protection and a good supporting cast, letting his top receiving option walk for less than $10,000,000 a year this year, and he failed him as a coach, plain and simple. A sad situation all around.
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