FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots made a legitimate change at quarterback on Sunday, benching Mac Jones and starting Bailey Zappe for the first time this season.

It didn’t necessarily go that well, but it was a step in the direction of transparency.

In the weeks leading up to Sunday’s shutout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Bill Belichick put everyone through the rigmarole regarding who would be starting. He refused to answer questions when asked directly, continuing to start Jones before eventually benching him in favor of Zappe.

It was a trend that often came without explanation, but after making what might be a permanent change, Belichick (kind of) opened up.

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“(Zappe’s) worked hard all year,” Belichick said.

That’s not the full reason, though. If that’s all it took, your high school teammates would be out on the field every Sunday. Belichick was pressed on his answer, and gave just a bit more than anyone expected.

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“I said that he’s worked hard all year, and I thought he deserved a chance to play,” Belichick said. “We made that decision last week… because we gave Mac the opportunity to work through his progression with the offense and obviously we hadn’t had a lot of production. I thought Bailey deserved a chance to play, so he played today.”

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That’s not an in-depth answer, but more than enough for Patriots fans who have been begging for one in recent weeks.

The rest of Belichick’s press conference… well, that’s another story. The 71-year-old was pretty difficult throughout, eventually cutting things off early after he was asked about Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

He gave an inch, and wasn’t giving anything more than that.

If you were hoping for more clarity than that, tough luck. Belichick was asked who would start in the Patriots’ matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, but failed to entertain the question.

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“We just finished the game,” Belichick responded rather bluntly. “… We just finished the game. I didn’t even start on Pittsburgh yet.”

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images