How Bill Belichick characterized pulling Mac Jones from Sunday’s Patriots loss
Going back to last season, Bill Belichick has often pushed back on the idea that players were ‘benched.’ That was the case when Mac Jones was pulled early against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football last season, and then again earlier this year when rookie wide receiver Demario Douglas didn’t play an offensive snap for three quarters after fumbling against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.
That same pattern came back on Sunday, when Belichick was asked about Jones being pulled in the third quarter of the New England Patriots’ 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Repeatedly, he declined to characterize the move as a benching.
“I didn’t think there was any point in leaving him in the game,” Belichick replied when asked why Jones was removed from the game. He repeated the same answer when asked directly if Jones was benched for poor performance.
Belichick repeated the answer again when asked if the plan is still to start Jones next week against the New Orleans Saints. “Yeah, I didn’t think there was a point in leaving him out there, so I took him out,” he said.
However, it was notable Jones was the only starter pulled from the game. Asked why Matthew Judon, who suffered what is reported to be a significant injury late in the game, wasn’t pulled as well, Belichick answered “you’ve got to put somebody out there.”
With Belichick’s vague answers, it wouldn’t be surprising if the external noise about the Patriots’ quarterback competition flared up again this week. Belichick will speak again – and likely be asked about the quarterback position – on Monday morning.