This time, Bill Belichick isn’t opening up about the Patriots’ ‘hypotheticals’ at quarterback
October 25th, 2022
After the Patriots’ 33-14 loss to the Chicago Bears Monday night, head coach Bill Belichick was evasive when asked about his team’s quarterback situation. Even with a chance to sleep on it, he returned with the same approach Tuesday morning.
“There’s a lot of things that went into that,” Belichick told reporters when asked about the decision to rotate quarterbacks with Mac Jones finally healthy enough to play. “I don’t really have the time to get into it here. It’s more complicated than that. But I’ll just leave it as we did what we felt was best for the team and the players involved. Obviously, it didn’t work out. But that was the decision.”
Belichick deflected on a number of different quarterback related questions. For instance, when asked if Jones was healthy enough to play the full game last night, he called it a hypothetical.
Belichick also used that answer when the true key question came up. Asked by ESPN’s Mike Reiss if Jones – when healthy – will be the team’s starter, Belichick replied “that’s a hypothetical question. So let’s see where that is and what that is.”
This was yet another in a series of multiple chances Belichick has had over the last two or so weeks to pour some water on the fire that is the external view of any supposed quarterback competition the Patriots may be experiencing. Instead, he once again left the door open.
An external quarterback competition – one only being discussed by those following the team – can be a nuisance. That being said teams that are good at ‘blocking out the noise’ as the Patriots traditionally are should be able to handle them. It’s only once those issues trickle into the locker room and it becomes an internal competition, which may be what’s happening based on reactions of players Monday night.
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 24: Mac Jones #10 and Bailey Zappe #4 of the New England Patriots stand on the field prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
It’s interesting to compare the current climate to how Belichick and the Patriots’ handled the last time they had anything resembling a controversy. That was during the 2020 season and early in 2021, when Cam Newton was still with the team.
The approach couldn’t be more opposite. Despite Newton struggling down the stretch, Belichick repeatedly reaffirmed him as the starter. This was despite the fact the team had a young, unknown option sitting behind him in second-year, fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham. Stidham replaced Newton in four games that season, but never started his own. With that repeated affirmation, Newton remained a central figure and key leader in the locker room even as he and the team struggled.
Even carrying over to the 2021 season, after the team selected Jones 15th overall, Belichick still maintained Newton was the team’s starter until deep into training camp. And when the time did come to make the switch, Belichick and the team left no question by releasing Newton instead of keeping him to back up Jones.
As was the case in 2020, Belichick is once again vague about the reasoning behind his approach. Still the approach was there. Now, it’s more questions than answers as the team tries to right the ship.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.