Bill Belichick Drops Potential Hint on QB Competition: Patriots Insider

Bill Belichick

Getty Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said little on who will start at quarterback.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick could not escape the rush of questions on Tuesday, August 1, after his recent quarterback comments on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes Belichick actually shed some light on if Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe will start at quarterback this season. Volin “tried to pin” down an answer on Tuesday and noted that Belichick “didn’t explicitly say ‘yes'” to Jones as the starter.

“Everybody is out here competing, all 90 guys,” Belichick told reporters in response to Volin’s question. “That’s what we’re all here for is to go out and compete.”

It echoed Belichick’s radio comment about giving Jones and Zappe “a chance to compete and see how it goes”. Zappe emerged as a competitor for the starting job after an impressive rookie season in 2022 when he filled in for Jones in addition to Belichick not naming a starter early in the offseason.

Belichick later responded to questions about Jones specifically — especially the nature of their working relationship. Speculation of a rift between the two rose in 2022 when Jones regressed as the team’s starter after a strong rookie season in 2021.

“I think my relationship is good with every player,” Belichick told the media via Volin.

Belichick included Jones when pressed by Volin. The coach also answered a question about Jones’ offseason award for work ethic and commitment.

“Yeah, of course. I talk to him every day,” Belichick said. “Yeah, he had a good offseason, really good. That’s why he was recognized. On and off the field, participation, production, yeah.”

Bill Belichick: ‘Zappe is Way Ahead’ of Rookie Season

In Belichick’s previous radio interview, he praised Jones similarly and likewise spoke well of Zappe and third-string quarterback Trace McSorely.

Belichick said “Zappe is way ahead of where he was last year” but tempered that with clarification about Zappe as a rookie versus a second-year player. As for McSorely, Belichick noted the former Penn State star’s experience but that he is “still a young player” in the league.

New England drafted Zappe in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Western Kentucky — a draft position that normally doesn’t threaten a starting job. The Patriots took Jones with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft, and he beat out Cam Newton for the starting job that year.

McSorely signed with the Patriots this offseason as the third quarterback after stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens.

Bailey Zappe Made a Case for Himself as a Rookie

Zappe made a case for himself with a 2-0 record in four game appearances in 2022, and one of those came when Belichick benched Jones in favor of Zappe. The former WKU star completed 70.7% of his passes for 781 yards and five touchdowns versus three interceptions.

Jones, meanwhile, went 6-8 with a 65.2% completion rate for 2,997 yards and 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions in 14 games. All of those numbers were a step back from his rookie campaign.

The former Alabama star looked like a future franchise quarterback in 2021 with a 10-7 record. Jones completed 67.6% of his passes for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions.

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