How Bill Belichick Responded To Confusion Over Patriots’ QB Plan

'Everybody knew what the plan was'


Oct 25, 2022

A portion of the New England Patriots locker room was unaware that Bailey Zappe would replace Mac Jones during Monday night’s matchup with the Chicago Bears. But Bill Belichick said the appropriate parties were looped in.

The Patriots head coach said Tuesday morning on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” that his unorthodox quarterback plan was properly communicated.

“I talked to the quarterbacks, talked to the leaders of the team,” Belichick said one day after the Patriots’ 33-14 loss at Gillette Stadium. “Everybody knew what the plan was. Not every single person, obviously. I wouldn’t talk to every single person about another player’s role in the game. They all have their jobs to do. But there was no lack of communication.”

Multiple offensive players, including wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and running back Rhamondre Stevenson, told reporters after the game that they were surprised Jones was removed.

Back after missing three games with a high ankle sprain, the Patriots’ starting QB played the first three series before giving way to Zappe. The Patriots went three-and-out on their first two possessions, and Jones ended the third with an interception on what proved to be his final snap of the night. Zappe led two quick touchdown drives after entering early in the second quarter, but those proved to be the Patriots’ final points, as the rookie’s final five drives resulted in a lost fumble, two three-and-outs and two interceptions.

Belichick said the plan entering the game was to play both QBs, and that Jones’ removal was not the result of poor performance or an in-game injury. According to Belichick, Jones would have returned to the game at some point after halftime had the score not gotten “out of hand.”

Jones publicly backed this plan in his postgame news conference, saying Belichick did a “really, really good job explaining it” to him. Zappe said he learned Jones would be starting “about when y’all did.”

The 3-4 Patriots will visit the 5-2 New York Jets this Sunday. Belichick declined Monday night and Tuesday morning to name a starter for that game.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots coaches Joe Judge, Matt Patricia and quarterback Bailey Zappe
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