New England Patriots

Which QB will Patriots start vs. Giants? Here's Bill O'Brien's response

It sounds like Jones still has a chance to be the No. 1 QB on Sunday.

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The New England Patriots benched Mac Jones and replaced him with backup quarterback Bailey Zappe late in their Week 10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany.

Will the Patriots go back to Jones as the starter for Sunday's Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium?

Judging by offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's comments Monday morning, it sounds like the team hasn't made a decision yet.

"For me, I basically get everybody ready to play," O'Brien told reporters in a video press conference. "What we try to do every week is, regardless of this week, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, get Mac ready to play, get Bailey ready to play, and that's what we do.

"At the end of the day, (head coach) Bill (Belichick) will make that decision at some point, and we'll go from there. But I do believe we have to continue, like we do all the time, to earn it on the practice field -- coaches and players. We have to practice better and we have to earn it on the practice field all the way around, and that's what we'll do."

When asked if he has made a recommendation to Belichick on which QB should start, O'Brien responded, "I think that anything that's spoken about between myself, the quarterbacks, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, whatever, stays in the organization."

It sounds like Jones, who took the first reps with the starting offense in the final bye week practice last Wednesday, still has a chance to be the starter Sunday, as long as he earns the job in practice. Luckily for Jones, Zappe hasn't wowed when he's received opportunities to play, whether that's the preseason or any of his regular season appearances.

Jones has thrown an interception in eight of his 10 games this season, and the Patriots lost each of those matchups. He also has thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in a game seven times in 2023. In fairness to Jones, New England hasn't surrounded him with much talent at the skill positions, but when you consistently fail to protect the football, it's hard to trust you as the starting quarterback.

The best outcome for the Patriots would actually be to lose against the Giants this week. That result would increase the Patriots' chances of landing a top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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