Bill Belichick’s Handling of Mac Jones ‘Won’t Play Well’ In Locker Room

New England Patriots

Getty New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

With the 2022 season in the rearview mirror, the New England Patriots can look back on the moments that defined the year. Without a doubt, one of those is the October 24 benching of quarterback Mac Jones for Bailey Zappe against the Chicago Bears.

That move — and head coach Bill Belichick’s overall treatment of Jones — didn’t please Patriots players, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard, who wrote that the feeling among the players will continue with Belichick’s refusal to declare Jones the starter heading into 2023.

“That Belichick declined to endorse Mac Jones as the starting QB in 2023 likely won’t play well in the locker room,” Bedard wrote on January 10. “The players understand that Jones and the offense were put in terrible positions by Belichick this season. Hopefully he takes more accountability for that in private because that’s how you lose players, and many were disillusioned from the start about the changes. Several players were not happy with how Belichick handled Jones with the Bailey Zappe situation, especially against the Bears — there are lingering feelings about that.”

New England Patriots Players Were Upset With the Coaching Staff

Bedard also indicated that Patriots players were upset with Belichick’s coaching staff.

“Players don’t believe they were put in a position to succeed,” Bedard wrote. “And one believes that if they had kept the same blocking system as last season, the team would have had half the sacks and negative plays that killed the offense this season. That was a coaching decision, and [team owners] the Krafts are well aware of the situation.”

New England Patriots Players Were Proud of Mac Jones

Players in the Patriots locker room didn’t forget how Jones reacted when he was benched in favor of Zappe against the Bears. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers reflected on the moment on January 9 during the team’s locker clean-out.

“[Jones] just showed who he was as a person, honestly, not even just a football player,” Meyers said, according to NESN’s Zack Cox. “I know one of my memories from the year is just seeing him out there playing while you hear other people chanting another quarterback’s name. That’s something tough to deal with, but he didn’t really complain. He strapped his chin strap up the next play and went back to work. So I’m proud of him.”

After the 33-14 loss to Chicago, Meyers called out fans.

“Not even as a football player, it’s tough as a man to see somebody who worked so hard get that kind of treatment,” he told reporters while standing by his locker. “But at the end of the day, we’re all trying to feed our families, so we’ve got to go out there and make plays for whoever’s throwing it.”

The love appears to mutual between Jones and Meyers. The Patriots quarterback said that he hoped Meyers, who will become a free agent, returns to the Patriots in 2023.

“Jakobi’s one of the best — if not the best — teammates I’ve ever had,” Jones said. “He’s a great person. He comes to work every day, doesn’t complain, does everything right. He deserves everything that’s coming his way. So hopefully, it’s with us. Yeah, he means a lot to me.”