At the conclusion of rounds two and three of the draft on Friday night, Bill Belichick took questions from the media regarding the Patriots’ selections so far and the drama that has been dominating their offseason.
Typically, not much would be made of his answers since he is not one to elaborate much. But one exchange caught the attention of those concerned about the quarterback situation in New England.
Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard went off script a bit when he asked Belichick to clarify his stance on Jones as the Patriots’ quarterback. He mentioned the few opportunities he has spoken about him throughout the last few months, he seemingly refused to commit to him as the starter, fueling the rumors that he was shopping Jones earlier this year.
Belichick reiterated that he would not respond to unsubstantiated quotes, but when asked if Jones was the Patriots quarterback at this moment, the head coach had more to share.
"“Yeah, I mean, look, Mac’s been our quarterback for two years. And as I tell the team every year, each player, each coach, we all have to reestablish and prove ourselves every year. That’s what this league is. So that’s for all of us. 2023 is 2023 and we’ll see how ’23 goes.”"
Bedard followed up his original question by mentioning that Belichick had previously been complimentary of Jones, especially before last season’s training camp.
Since so much of the conversation regarding their relationship and his belief in Jones has reportedly changed since then, Bedard asked if he still felt the same way about Jones as he did a year ago.
Belichick responded, stating, “Absolutely.”
This is the first time that he has publicly supported Jones as the quarterback in several months. It’s no secret that the 2022 season was dysfunctional all around, likely creating tension and rifts in relationships between coaches and players, Jones included.
However, Belichick has never been shy about supporting a quarterback publicly, even Bedard referenced his continued public declaration of Cam Newton as the quarterback throughout the 2020 season, making his lack of commitment to Jones much more confusing.
Now that he has stated he is the quarterback moving forward, hopefully. the speculation about what’s going on behind closed doors and how Belichick “really” feels will simmer down.
It appears the Patriots are on the right track in setting the offense up for success next season, signing some good offensive pieces in free agency and loading up on offensive linemen in the draft. Plus, the additions of Bill O’Brien and Adrian Klemm feel like intentional hires to benefit Jones the most.
The rest of the offseason will be another interesting one to watch. Apart from Belichick’s words, the belief in Jones as the quarterback seems more solid than ever, considering only an UDFA quarterback was signed during draft weekend.
With many more quality tools to work with in 2023, Jones can (hopefully) get back to and build upon his rookie season and be the quarterback the Patriots hoped for when they drafted him two years ago.