It remains unclear what exactly caused New England Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard to go from starter to healthy scratch in the span of a few weeks. Bill Belichick declined to shed any light on the situation Monday morning.
Reporters repeatedly asked the Patriots coach during a Monday conference call why Sheard was inactive for Sunday’s 30-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Belichick offered just one explanation: because it was what was best for the team.
“Well, Jabaal was inactive,” Belichick said. “So that’s why he wasn’t in San Francisco.”
He later added: “As I think I’ve said on dozens of occasions, every decision we make here is based on what’s best for the football team.”
Patriots radio analyst Scott Zolak reported during CSNNE’s pregame show Sunday that Sheard’s demotion came after he freelanced on two plays during last Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Sheard played just 16 snaps in that game after averaging 48.4 over New England’s first eight contests.
Belichick had no comment on Zolak’s report.
“You’d have to talk to Scott about that,” the coach said. “I’m not sure what Scott said or what he was referring to or anything else. You’d really have to talk to Scott about that.”
Belichick also sidestepped a question about whether Sheard could play his way back into the lineup for this Sunday’s matchup with the New York Jets.
“As I already said, we’re going to make the decisions that we feel are best for the football team,” Belichick said. “Last week, this week, next week, every week. I don’t know how I could put it any differently. Last year, the year before that, five years before that, 10 years before that, 15 years before that. I mean, I don’t really understand why that’s hard to understand.”
Sheard ranked second on the Patriots in sacks last season with 6 1/2, and he started the first eight games of this season.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images