Because Mac Jones was benched in the Patriots Week 10 game against the Colts, and then the team followed up their latest loss with their bye week, questions remain about who Bill Belichick will decide to put under center this Sunday.
It has been the most discussed topic over the last two weeks, and now that the team is back in Foxboro, coaches and players have been continuously asked who will be the starting quarterback in Week 12.
Most remain mum on who it will inevitably be, whether due to genuine ignorance of the answer or sticking to the historical way things are run in New England. But Belichick seemed to give away some information when speaking to reporters earlier this week, seemingly revealing at least one of the rostered quarterbacks would not be taking the field against the Giants this weekend.
When speaking to Scott Zolak on “Patriots All-Access” on Monday, the head coach was explicitly asked about Will Grier, who the Patriots signed off Cincinnati’s practice squad two months ago. Because some have called for the 28-year-old to take over quarterbacking duties, Zolak tried to get some insight into how Belichick views him as a potential Jones replacement candidate.
"(He’s doing) a little bit better each week. Just a little more familiarity with being able to run our plays. He just hasn’t had a chance to — you know what it’s like playing quarterback. The backup quarterback, you never get enough reps as it is.
So, that’s the backup quarterback, and then the third quarterback is even less than that. And when you’re new and you haven’t been here in training camp and had the full background of OTAs and training camp and a chance really to run our core plays, it’s just a lot to catch up on."
It seems like Belichick let the cat out of the bag much earlier than he suggested, as he had previously stated there would be no announcement about who the starting quarterback would be until game time. But outside of this slip-up, Jones has been noticeably getting all the starting reps at practice, which also seems to indicate there won't be a change at quarterback in the near future.
It makes sense, as keeping your presumably best player on the team gives you the best chance at winning if that's what the Patriots are still trying to do at this point. However, if they are waving the white flag like some have suggested they have or want them to do, there's no harm in throwing Grier or even Malik Cunningham in, right?
It all depends on how you view the quarterback situation and how much they respect Jones. Permanently benching him decreases his value even more, so if Belichick intends to move on from him inevitably and hopes to trade him for some sort of return, keeping him on the sideline doesn't help. At the same time, if he continues to play as poorly as he has been, that isn't helpful either.
It's a weird spot they find themselves in right now, and hopefully, it will be the last time for a long time that this type of discussion is being had at this point in the season.
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