With head coach Bill Belichick not scheduled to speak to reporters until Tuesday, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien fielded the first questions of the week about the Patriots’ starting quarterback plan for Week 12.
O’Brien deferred to Belichick on Monday, though it sounds like a decision has yet to be made.
“For me, I basically get everybody ready to play,” O’Brien said. “So what we try to do is every week, regardless of this week, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, get Mac (Jones) ready to play, get Bailey (Zappe) ready to play and that’s what we do. At the end of the day, Bill will make that decision at some point, and we’ll go from there.”
O’Brien pointed out that Jones, Zappe and Will Grier all took first-team reps at quarterback in the Patriots’ sole practice of the bye week. He would not say who he has recommended to start at quarterback, believing that those conversations should stay in-house.
It sounds like practice this week will determine who will start Sunday against the Giants in New York.
“I think what I’m saying is that’s really important is that — and I’ve said this and I know that people might scoff at this — one of the reasons I really enjoy coaching here is that you really have to earn it on the practice field. You earn it on the practice field by quality reps. Really, you have to strive for perfection on the practice field. You’re not going to reach perfection on the practice field, but you’re going to strive for it and try to execute it at a high level, and hopefully that leads to good execution in the games. Right now, we haven’t had consistent enough execution in the games obviously, so we’ll see what happens down the road here, but we’ve got to have a good meeting, walk-through today, practice tomorrow, practice Wednesday. We have to have good practices and then we can all determine at every position who should play the most. That’s really what I feel.”
A source said Zappe has struggled in practice this season, which is why he hasn’t earned the opportunity to start so far this year.