Patriots' decision to pull Mac Jones caught several players off guard


It doesn't sound like all of the New England Patriots' oars were rowing in the same direction Monday night.

The Patriots' embarrassing 33-14 loss to the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium was highlighted by the team's strange decision to start Mac Jones at quarterback but bench him after just three offensive series in favor of rookie Bailey Zappe.

Head coach Bill Belichick said after the game that it was the plan all along to play both QBs, and Jones insisted that plan was properly communicated to him.

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"I think Coach Belichick did a really, really good job of explaining it to me," Jones told reporters. "I knew what the plan was and the timing is the timing, but we were on the same page and there's no hard feelings or anything."

But did Belichick and the coaching staff communicate the QB plan to the rest of the team? It doesn't appear so, as both wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and running back Rhamondre Stevenson told MassLive's Mark Daniels they didn't know both Jones and Zappe would play against the Bears.

"No. We weren't aware," Stevenson told Daniels.

Meyers was more passionate in his reaction to the situation, telling reporters it was "tough as a man" to see Jones "get that kind of treatment." Jones and the Patriots offense were showered with boos after he threw an interception early in the second quarter, and the crowd erupted in cheers when Zappe came in.

"It was an ugly situation, in my opinion," Meyers said.

Meyers and Stevenson weren't the only players scratching their heads. When asked about both Jones and Zappe playing Monday, tight end Jonnu Smith replied, "I don’t know too much or know the decision, but (we’re) trying to get something going, I guess."

Added tight end Hunter Henry: "Those decisions are beyond me. You have to ask coach about that one."

According to Daniels, one offensive player even "went up to Jones (in the locker room) and apologized for how the game played out, saying he didn’t know the quarterback was going to get pulled out of the game."

Belichick has always emphasized players doing their individual jobs, and it's possible he didn't directly communicate the quarterback plan to everyone in the locker room to avoid an unnecessary distraction. But based on the mood in the locker room Monday night, it sounds like that apparent lack of communication had a direct impact on team morale.

The Patriots have a quick turnaround before facing the 5-2 New York Jets next Sunday, so it will be fascinating to see whether Belichick clears the air on the team's QB situation in the coming days.

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