Considering how the 2023 season has gone for the Patriots so far, there isn't much you can say to convince fans to get excited to watch any of the remaining games this year.
However, when news broke that Mac Jones would be sidelined this week, opening the door for Bailey Zappe to get the start and a potential opportunity to see Malik Cunningham as well, most were ready to see if all the changes could be impactful for a less than productive offense.
Although 'Zappe Fever' has primarily been cured and is a thing of the past, it was clear that Jones has become a shell of his former self, which doesn't make for a successful quarterback in the NFL, no matter the circumstances that got him there. So knowing that Zappe would be under center on Sunday piqued fans' interest, even more so when Cunningham was teased as a possible swap-in.
But that never happened.
The rookie never stepped onto the field throughout the game, even though the offense looked inept, and the Chargers were playing just as poorly. Changing things up by seeing how Cunningham could possibly bring some light to the team was apparently not in Bill Belichick's plans. And now, we need to know why.
Why did Malik Cunningham not see any time on the field for the offense?
Technically, the head coach was questioned about this right after the game when he stood in front of reporters, but he didn't exactly provide an actual answer. He responded with the usual, "We did what we thought was best," which may be true.
However, isn't an offense showing no signs of life, led by a quarterback who only completed 13 passes and averaged 5.6 yards per attempt, and eventually lost by just six points enough to believe what was on the field may not have been best for the team's chances of winning?
It doesn't mean that Cunningham would have magically saved the team and led them to a win, but what would have been the harm in seeing how it would've gone? What was the point of giving him second-team reps all week if you didn't intend to use him come game time?
It becomes Belichick's latest questionable decision this year, which we will likely never get a real explanation for. Regardless, it shouldn't remain the plan, especially if Jones stays benched. Clearly, Zappe isn't the guy either, so give Cunningham a shot in his place. The season is already over as it is.