Mac Jones Reacts to Latest Patriots Backup Quarterback Signing

Mac Jones

Getty Mac Jones shared his thoughts on the team's latest quarterback addition.

The New England Patriots backup quarterback carousel continues as the team signed Ian Book to its practice squad on Wednesday, September 13, according to the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed.

Patriots starter Mac Jones, who is familiar with Book, welcomed the move. New England went through a cycle of potential backups with Bailey Zappe, Malik Cunningham, and Matt Corral in recent weeks.

“Ian and I played against each other in college,” Jones told reporters on Wednesday, September 13. “He’s a great quarterback, and we’re excited to have him in our room.”

Book played for Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish faced Jones and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2020 College Football Playoff semifinals. Jones outplayed Book in that game as the Tide rolled to a 31-14 victory in the Rose Bowl.

The two connected again via the 2021 NFL draft process. Jones went at No. 15 to the Patriots, and the New Orleans Saints selected Book with a fourth-round pick.

“It was different with COVID and stuff like that,” Jones said. “But I thought he was really good in college and obviously am glad to have him here.”

Since Book will serve on the practice squad, Zappe will remain on the active roster as the No. 2 quarterback. Zappe and Cunningham both faced cuts after the preseason, but the Patriots signed both back to the practice squad.

Meanwhile, the Patriots signed Corral to the 53-man roster before the season but that didn’t pan out. Corral left the Patriots, which put him on the exempt list due to personal reasons before the season opener.

Bill Belichick Offers Update on Matt Corral, Mac Jones Wants Teamwork From QB Room

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that he has been in contact with Corral but offered no further details.

“He’s in exempt status, and I don’t have any comment on it,” Belichick told WEEI on Monday, September 11. “That’s a personal matter.”

With the quarterback room in flux in recent weeks, Jones sees it as imperative to rebuild continuity.

“I feel like quarterback rooms need to work together to help the team win,” Jones said. “So hopefully we can do that.”

Book doesn’t offer more game experience than Zappe, but the second-year signal caller from Western Kentucky struggled in the preseason. Book’s lone NFL start came in 2021 with the Saints when he threw for 135 yards and two interceptions on 12-20 passing.

Ian Book Hasn’t Attained Same Glory in NFL as He Did at Notre Dame

Book hasn’t matched his prowess from South Bend, Indiana, at the next level. New Orleans released Book in 2022 before he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, which released him in August 2023.

As the Fighting Irish starter, Book threw for 8,948 yards and 72 touchdowns versus 20 interceptions in four seasons. He also rushed for 1,517 yards and 17 touchdowns in that span.

A winner on the field, Book led the Irish to the College Football Playoff in 2018 and 2020. He also led the Irish to 10 or more wins in each of his three seasons as the starter.

Book also received a taste of championship-caliber football last season with the Eagles where he served as the team’s third quarterback behind Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew. Book never saw the field with the Eagles in 2022.

In this past preseason, Book played in two games for the Eagles and threw for 91 yards and on 12-19 passing.

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