Bill Belichick, Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe each explained the New England Patriots’ quarterback action in Monday night’s 33-14 blowout loss to Chicago and said they were on the podium to discuss pregame rotation.
The message apparently didn’t make it to the dressing room.
The rest of the offense seemed surprised that Belichick had planned ahead of time to field two quarterbacks.
“No. We weren’t aware of it,” running back Rhamondre Stevenson told MassLive.
Receiver #1 Jakobi Meyers also expressed surprise when Zappe entered after three failed Jones drives.
“I’d say it’s a shock, but we don’t really have time to focus too much on it,” Meyers said candidly. “The bullets were already flying when we realized it. You have to go out there and keep doing theatre.”
During an appearance Tuesday morning on WEEI, Belichick said he told players who needed to know.
“I spoke to the quarterbacks. I spoke to the leaders of the team…” Belichick said. via NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry. “There was no lack of communication.”
Jones started and fought, completing 3 of 6 passes for 13 yards and one interception on three possessions. After consecutive threes and outs to open the game, “Zapp! Zapp!” Chants began to rain from the crowd in Foxborough. They got their request for Jones’ interception.
“You hate to see one of your brothers treated like that,” Meyers said of the chants and Jones being benched. “You want him to be okay. You want everyone to be okay, including Zappe, but as far as that goes, you really don’t have time to really focus on the decisions you’re making.”
Zappe immediately gave the Pats juice with two quick TD drives that included a few defensive collapses from the Bears. But from there, the offense fell silent again and the Bears rattled off 23 straight points to seal the win.
Belichick said he plans to return to Jones, but with the lopsided scoreboard, he’s decided against it.
Meyers lamented how Jones was treated, not just a perceived bench press from coaches, but “the crowd, everything. It was an ugly situation.”
“It’s hard for a man to see someone who works so hard being treated this way,” Meyers said. “At the end of the day, we’re all trying to support our families. We have to go out and play with whoever is throwing it.”
The Patriots’ QB situation will be one of the biggest storylines in Week 8. Belichick’s club meets the up-and-coming New York Jets, who sit 5-2. A Gang Green win could put the Pats out of hope of getting back into divisional racing.
Belichick always likes to keep his plans quiet in order to gain a competitive advantage over his opponent. But maybe he should at least share that plan with his own dressing room this week, lest they be caught by shuffling signal callers yet again.
When asked Tuesday on WEEI if he’d seen enough Monday night to designate a Week 8 QB, Belichick simply replied, “We will do what we think is best for the football team.“