FOXBORO, Mass. — Malik Cunningham said late last week that he hadn’t taken regular practice reps at quarterback since Week 6, when he served as Mac Jones’ surprise backup in a loss to the Raiders.

On Wednesday, head coach Bill Belichick was asked why the team moved the multitalented rookie “back” to wide receiver. Belichick pushed back on that notion, saying despite Cunningham’s QB2 designation against Las Vegas, he’s primarily played wideout since arriving in New England this spring.

“We didn’t move him back anywhere,” Belichick said. “He’s been playing receiver all year, and he’s also played some at quarterback.”

As for why Cunningham, who never played receiver in high school or college, hasn’t seen much work behind center since October, Belichick said his scout-team reps are partially determined by which opponent the Patriots are preparing for.

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The undrafted Louisville product is a dual-threat QB who’s more skilled as a rusher than a passer, so he saw more action there when New England needed to simulate mobile signal-callers like Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, whom they faced in Week 1.

Belichick also said Cunningham is “handled differently” than any other Patriots player.

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“Well, there are other players that are practicing at quarterback, as well,” Belichick explained. “He’s not the only guy out there. And then it depends a little bit on the offense that we’re seeing. If we’re seeing offenses that run plays that he’s very good at running — teams like Philadelphia, the first Miami game — then he gets, I mean, they’re practice squad reps, but they’re also reps on things that he does.

“He’s kind of a unique player. Things aren’t straight-line with him. He’s different than probably every other player we have on the team, so he’s handled differently.”

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Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who worked Cunningham out before the draft, also repeatedly has referred to the 25-year-old as a receiver.

“He gets some reps at quarterback on the scout team and things like that,” O’Brien said Tuesday in a video conference, “but he’s played mostly at receiver, and he’s gotten a lot better as a receiver. I do think it’s hard to learn both of those positions. It’s not like learning right tackle and left guard. When you’re learning quarterback and wide receiver, it’s difficult. But he’s done a really admirable job of trying to do both.”

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Cunningham impressed in his one series at quarterback in his NFL preseason debut, leading a touchdown drive against third-string Houston Texans defenders. But he almost exclusively played wideout over the final two weeks of the preseason and struggled, catching just one pass on nine targets. He played just six snaps in his lone regular-season appearance (three at QB, three at receiver) and has been released twice.

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The Patriots’ quarterback position currently is a mess, with neither Mac Jones nor Bailey Zappe looking like a viable starter. But those comments from Belichick and O’Brien suggest they aren’t considering giving Cunningham a shot there.

New England, which re-signed third-string QB Will Grier to the practice squad on Tuesday, will host the Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images