The New England Patriots will reportedly turn back to Mac Jones as their starting quarterback in the team’s week eight matchup against the New York Jets on Sunday.
The decision comes hours after a Patriots press-conference on Wednesday in which head coach Bill Belichick said, “we’ll see how it goes today,” in response to reporters asking him about whether Mac Jones or rookie Bailey Zappe would be named the Patriots’ starting QB going forward.
NFL Insider for ESPN Field Yates reported that Jones took 90% of the Patriots’ practice snaps offensively and won back his role as the starter over the rookie.
Breaking news for Week 8: Patriots QB Mac Jones took about 90% of the first teams reps in practice today and will start for the team on Sunday against the Jets, per source. pic.twitter.com/Gc2js6YabK
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 26, 2022
Last Monday, Belichick benched Jones after a poor first-half performance against the Chicago Bears after the QB missed a month with an injury. When Zappe was subbed in, he initially electrified the crowd, scoring two quick touchdowns, but ultimately quarterbacked the team to a 19-point-loss at home to the below-average Bears. (RELATED: REPORT: Patriots QB Mac Jones Slated To Return In Time For Monday Night Football. Is The Starting Job Still His?)
In Jones’ absence, Zappe won the Patriots two straight games and got the team’s overall record back to even. By the time Jones returned on Monday night from his ankle injury, “Zappe Fever” had already spread across the fanbase like wildfire. Some Patriots fans seemed to think that with Zappe in a similar spot as Tom Brady in 2001, he would outplay Jones and become the new face of their franchise. (RELATED: REPORT: Tom Brady And Ron DeSantis Are Texting Buddies)
After scoring zero second-half points against the 2-4 Bears as a backup, it was apparent that Belichick benching Jones for Zappe mid-game was a terrible idea. If anything, benching Jones could have just rubbed him the wrong way and made him realize just how short of a leash Belichick has him on.
At the end of the day, “Zappe Fever” was chaotic and circus-like. Despite the excitement generated by Zappe winning back-to-back games, it altered the dynamic of the team for the worse once Jones returned. The decision for the Patriots to revert to Jones will put an end to the distracting quarterback controversy the team had.
The Patriots had something good going with Jones as their quarterback before he was hurt. For New England to throw away everything that they’ve invested into Jones over the last two years for a flash in the pan rookie would be unjust.
Although the Patriots are last place in the AFC East standings, a win Sunday against the Jets will make their playoff dreams feel a little closer.