If the New England Patriots were looking for some bulletin board material ahead of their Monday night matchup with the Chicago Bears, they got it from defensive lineman and fifth-year veteran, Justin Jones.
In an interview inside the locker room conducted by CHGO Sports’ Mark Carman, Jones was asked about the first thing he thinks about when he hears Bill Belichick’s name.
Jones said, “deflated balls,” referring to the Tom Brady deflated football scandal, aka Deflategate, in 2015. Watch the video below; Jones goes as far as to say he’s heard the Patriots are still deflating footballs and that he plans on checking the balls himself when his Bears meet the Patriots on Monday night.
That’s a pretty tough statement to make about a legend of Belichick’s status. However, there have been issues related to cheating associated with the Patriots under the Hoodie’s watch for over two decades.
Still, for a player–especially a relatively unproven one like Jones–to make such a strong, bold, and mostly unfounded statement about Belichick is a bit reckless.
If Jones and the Bears don’t come out on top on Monday, someone is going to keep these receipts and plop them down right in front of the 26-year-old.
N’Keal Harry Revenge Game?
Another member of the Bears roster might have an axe to grind with the Patriots. Former Patriots WR N’Keal Harry is expected to make his debut with the Bears on Monday night.
The Patriots selected Harry in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Harry’s time with the Patriots was filled with disappointment and injury. Harry suffered an ankle injury during training camp and has been on injured reserve all season, but he is expected to be healthy enough to play against his former team.
Is he headed for a revenge game?
Harry should have his opportunities for a Chicago team that has been struggling to find a dependable option at wide receiver besides Darnell Mooney. How serious have the struggles been for the Bears and their receiving corps?
If Harry were to break out with a magical, but highly unlikely performance with 150 receiving yards, he’d be the Bears’ second-leading receiver behind Mooney.
Because of the Bears’ lack of depth, expect for Harry to get an opportunity to make an impact.
Who Starts at QB For the Patriots?
Mac Jones looked healthy at practice on Thursday, though he was still listed as limited on the official injury report. However, early reports suggested Jones was expected to return and start when the Patriots play the Bears.
Belichick won’t show his hand until the last moment, but it would make sense for the Bears to prepare for Jones. All indications point to him regaining his starting spot. However, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Patriots turn back to rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe in the second half if Jones has struggled.
Belichick may not want to take Jones’ job because of injury, but it is possible he could give the second-year pro a shorter leash because of what he has seen from Zappe, and we’re close to the midway point of the season.
The Patriots want to make the postseason. They have a championship-level run game and a defense that seemingly improves each week. Belichick will play the quarterback that gives his team the best chance to win.