Will Jones and Zappe compete for QB job? Here is Belichick's answer originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Mac Jones has been the New England Patriots' starting quarterback in Week 1 each of the last two seasons, and while it would be logical to assume that streak will extend to the 2023 campaign, head coach Bill Belichick didn't fully commit to the Alabama product Monday.
Belichick met with reporters for about a half hour at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix on Monday.
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Inevitably, the quarterback position came up.
Here's the exchange he had with the media about Jones and 2022 rookie Bailey Zappe.
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Question: Would it be fair to say that both Mac and Bailey Zappe will be competing for the starting job over the summer? Or is it Mac's job?
Belichick: "Well, everybody will get a chance to play. We'll play the best players."
Question: So, it's still kind of a competition?
Belichick: Everybody will get a chance to play.
Question: Is that specific to the quarterbacks, or do you view every position like that?
Belichick: "Every position. Everybody will get a chance to play. Everybody who's on our roster, if they earn the opportunity to play based on what they do in practice and all that, then they'll get an opportunity to play. Certainly veteran players who have been on the team before, if they're still on the team, they'll all get an opportunity to play."
(The exchange above begins at the 7:34 mark of the video below):
When asked what he would like Jones to improve on during the offseason, Belichick said he will keep those discussions between him and individual players private.
Jones started every game in which he was healthy enough to do so last season. An ankle injury suffered in Week 3 forced him to miss three weeks, and Zappe started two of those three games.
It was a tough sophomore season for Jones overall. The ankle injury certainly didn't help. The offensive line's performance was lackluster at times. There was a lack of top-level talent at the skill positions, too. But Jones also didn't perform well. He completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,997 yards with just 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 14 games.
Luckily for Jones, the Patriots have made improvements on offense this offseason. They've signed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, tight end Mike Gesicki and running back James Robinson. Offensive tackles Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff were added to the roster as well. Bill O'Brien was hired to be the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, which is a massive upgrade from last year's play-caller, Matt Patricia.
These improvements, plus the sting of how last season unfolded, should give Jones all the motivation he needs for a bounce-back campaign in 2023.