The New England Patriots benched starting quarterback Mac Jones and gave his backup, Bailey Zappe, the opportunity to win Sunday's Week 10 game against the Indianapolis Colts in the final two minutes.
Jones had just thrown an awful interception in the red zone that cost the Patriots a chance to take a late lead. It was one of several bad throws/decisions he made throughout the game, which New England ended up losing 10-6.
Jones has been benched several times this season. At some point, the team has to move on from the University of Alabama product and say enough is enough, right? Can the Patriots really go back to Jones as the starter when they play the New York Giants on the road in Week 12?
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"I don't see how you do," former Patriots safety Jason McCourty told Tom E. Curran on the Patriots Talk Podcast. "I'm watching that game and we're in the commercial break, I'm talking to our producer and I'm like, 'Bailey Zappe is warming up. We gotta show that, he's warming up!' As bad as that interception was, when you bench a guy like that in a game that, for all intents and purposes -- I was with (Robert) Kraft the day before and he really wanted to win that game in Germany.
"He said this has been a decade of trying to get a game in Germany for the New England Patriots. Sebastian Vollmer was in the house, a draft pick in the second round who has won Super Bowls, who was from Germany. And in the biggest moment, you take Mac Jones out and he's just sitting there on the bench and he goes up to Bailey Zappe right before and says, 'Go win this thing.' I don't see how you keep going back and forth after last year."
Jones has thrown for 2,031 yards with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 10 games this season. He has thrown at least one interception in eight of 10 games, and the Patriots lost each one. Jones has made too many mistakes late in games for the Patriots to trust him going forward. In fairness, the Patriots haven't done enough to surround him with enough talent at the skill positions and the offensive line, but his inability to protect the football is a huge problem.
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McCourty would like to see the Patriots turn to Zappe or third-string quarterback Will Grier after the bye week.
"I felt like in that moment when you took (Jones) out, that was it," McCourty said. "Like, we've tried, we've tried, we've tried. He keeps making this boneheaded mistake. We've got to go somewhere else. So whether it's Bailey Zappe or whether we got Will Grier here, let's prep him, let's get him going. Let's see what Will Grier can do.
"I don't see how you go back to Mac Jones unless there's an injury or something else happened. To me, when you moved on from him in the fourth quarter, and the last drive of the game and you said 'go win the game' and you gave it to Bailey Zappe, who, like I said, hadn't thrown a pass since the New Orleans Saints game, that was your way of saying 'That's it, we're at our wits' end. We've told you time and time again, you haven't made the correction, and we've got to move on.'"
Bill Belichick was asked Tuesday if Jones is still the starting QB. He didn't commit either way.
"We’ve got a lot of things to work on this week as a team and we’ll work through those," Belichick said. "That’s what we’re going to do this week."
Also in this episode:
- Jason McCourty on the state of the Patriots
- Patriots' plan for Mac Jones was a ‘recipe for disaster’
- Best defense for Bill Belichick to stay in New England