After Mac Jones was benched for the fourth time this season, it has looked like his time in New England is just short of being officially over. Bailey Zappe has now been handed the keys to being the starter, and Jones has watched the last few games from the sidelines.
Because of that and the lack of indication that it will change any time soon, most believe the third-year quarterback won't get back on the field, at least this season. That hasn't been explicitly said by Bill Belichick or Bill O'Brien, but with the playoffs now in the rearview mirror and just three games left on the schedule, there's no reason to believe another change at quarterback will be made.
That is unless Zappe ultimately falls off a cliff in the meantime.
Since it remains a topic of conversation, particularly surrounding the future of Jones as a Patriot in general, reporters asked O'Brien if there is anything the quarterback can do to get back on the field this season during his media availability on Tuesday morning.
It's a sentiment that has been repeated and reiterated in New England since the dawn of time, and although it remains true this season, O'Brien's answer didn't really provide much confidence in Jones (specifically) earning another shot to play in a game.
Because of that, it's almost like the lack of a real answer is an answer itself.
The conscious decision to speak broadly about players earning opportunities rather than talking about Jones on his own seems to mean the possibility of him getting back in the game isn't necessarily off the table, but he has yet to earn the job back through his practice.
It may really just come down to allowing Zappe to prove he should be on the team next year, even in a backup role, and the best way to do that is by allowing him to finish the season. Disrupting that by putting Jones back in could create a hostile environment for the team, as any quarterback carousel would.
So, it's looking like the best plan for the time being.