New England Patriots

Could Mac Jones play again this season? Here is Bill O'Brien's response

Jones hasn't played since Wek 12.

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New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has not played since being benched at halftime during the team's Week 12 loss at the New York Giants.

That Giants game was the second game in a row -- and fourth time this season -- that Jones had been benched. Backup Bailey Zappe has started each of the last three games, and while the offense has looked better with him under center, it's still the lowest-scoring unit in the NFL at 13.3 points per game.

Could we see Jones play quarterback again over the final three games of the regular season?

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was asked about that Tuesday. He didn't give a definitive answer, but he didn't close the door on it happening, either.

“I think everybody’s gotta be ready to play, especially in the situation we’re in. I really do,” O’Brien said in a video press conference. “I think that everybody has to be ready to go. Anybody that’s on the 53-man roster has to go out on the practice field and practice well and earn a shot to play. That’s whether you’re a quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, running back or offensive lineman.

“I know you’ve heard that from Bill (Belichick), but that’s the truth. You have to be ready to go, because if you practice really well, you’re going to have a real shot to play. I think that goes for every position.”

Jones started the first 11 games of the season and struggled mightily. He has thrown for just 2,120 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He threw at least one interception in nine of those 11 games, and the Patriots lost all of them. In fairness, not all of the Patriots offense's issues are squarely Jones' fault. The lack of talent at the skill positions and the weaknesses of the offensive line are major problems, too.

But we got a large enough sample size with Jones at the helm to realize that he's just not the best option at quarterback for this team. Therefore, it would be pretty surprising if Jones got another chance to play in 2023, unless injuries, poor performance from Zappe or garbage time situations come into play.

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