Patriots Pregame Live

NFL insider reveals Patriots QB Mac Jones' role in practice before Week 13

Jones was demoted to scout team QB in practice this week.

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The fall for Mac Jones has been steep.

He's gone from the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots to running the scout team offense.

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said Sunday on NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Pregame Live that Jones played the role of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert on the scout team during practice this week.

How did Jones handle the demotion?

"I heard he was very quiet this week, and to himself a little bit," Breer said. "The role that he played in practice actually during the week wasn't as the backup to Bailey Zappe, it was the scout team quarterback. So he was playing the role of Justin Herbert in practice.

"And even in that context, you saw some of the mistakes that you'd seen in practice over the last three weeks, according to the people there. And that was one of the more troubling things about the way Mac was playing, is that through the struggles against Dallas and New Orleans and against the Giants and the Colts, it'd be one thing if these things weren't showing up at practice and it was a game day thing. But you would see some of those things on the practice field, and I've said it a few times now, some of the defensive players would call that stuff out in practice."

The Patriots host the Chargers on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Bailey Zappe will start vs. the Chargers, with Malik Cunningham serving as the backup. Jones is active for this game but reportedly is unlikely to play.

"I think where Mac Jones is right now, we've talked about him having the yips, certainly could use the time out," Breer said. "The problem, of course, is now with him dressing for the game on Sunday, he's one step away from being right back out there on the field. And I think that's a result of the same thing where -- why did it take them so long to bench Mac Jones? Well, it's because they didn't have a great option behind him.

"Now, why are they giving Mac Jones a jersey for game day, instead of just shutting them down altogether? It's because once you get beyond Bailey Zappe, they don't have a workable solution as a backup quarterback."

Jones started each of the first 11 games for the Patriots and the team won just two of those matchups. He also has been benched in four games, including the last two. Jones is completing 64.9 percent of his passes for 2,120 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (second-most in the league) this season.

Have we seen the last of Jones in a Patriots uniform? Some of that will depend on how well Zappe performs, but there's no reason for the Patriots to go back to Jones. We've seen enough bad football from him this season to know he's not the short- or long-term answer at quarterback for this franchise.

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