Bill Belichick gave another confusing comment about Mac Jones‘ future with the New England Patriots on Monday.
Speaking at the NFL owners meeting, Belichick was asked if Bailey Zappe will be competing with Jones for the starting quarterback job in 2023. Belichick was non-committal.
“Well, everybody will get a chance to play. We'll play the best player,” Belichick said.
As it sounded like Belichick might have implied that there was an open competition for who will play quarterback for the Patriots in 2023, he was asked if that was the case.
“Everybody will get a chance to play,” Belichick responded.
While it sounded like Jones's job could be in jeopardy entering training camp, Belichick clarified that he takes the same approach at every position.
“Every position. Everybody will get a chance to play. Everyone that's on our roster, if they earn any opportunity to play based on what they do in practice and all of that, then they'll get an opportunity to play. Certainly, veteran players have been on the team before and if they're still on the team, they'll all get an opportunity to play.”
QUESTION: "Is it fair to say Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe will be competing for the starting QB job?" pic.twitter.com/UER3Z0AQbo
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) March 27, 2023
Even though Belichick said that every position will essentially have an open competition entering the season, Belichick's latest non-committal comment might have added some more fuel to the fire about Jones' uncertain future in New England. Jones was benched during the Pats Week 7 contest against the Chicago Bears in favor of Zappe (which was supposedly due to Jones' ankle injury) before regaining the starting job for the remainder of the season.
Jones struggled for much of the 2022 season, though, throwing for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with an 84.8 passer rating.
The day after the season ended, Belichick provided another non-committal answer when asked if Jones would be the team's starting quarterback in 2023, saying he has “the ability to play quarterback in this league” but didn't provide a direct answer to the question.
Belichick was asked specifically what Jones could improve on in 2023. He said that he had individual conversations with each player following the season about improvement that he'll keep private.
“We're looking ahead to 2023 here. We're not going to rehash 2022,” Belichick said. “… I think we can all improve. All of us. Starting with me.”
Belichick was also asked if the Patriots would pursue Lamar Jackson after the Baltimore Ravens quarterback revealed Monday that he asked for a trade earlier in March.
“I'm not going to talk about players on any other team,” Belichick said.