Who Is the Starting QB for the New England Patriots?

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has been benched several times this season, and signs are pointing to Bailey Zappe starting under center this week.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has had a rough season. With more interceptions than touchdowns and a horrendous showing in Week 12 against the Giants, things could not seem to get any worse for the Patriots as they sit at 2-9 at the bottom of the AFC.

With Jones playing so poorly and being benched in favor of Bailey Zappe four times this season, will a change finally be made at the starting QB position?

Bailey Zappe Likely To Start in Week 13

Every Wednesday, reporters get to talk to the Patriots’ starting quarterback. This week, reporters didn’t talk to any quarterback, according to CBS.

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran said that Zappe informed approaching reporters in the locker room Wednesday that he’ll be heading to the podium to talk to them on Thursday, indicating that he would likely be the starter this week.

On Thursday morning, WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche clarified that Zappe did not say he’s heading to the podium, only that he’s speaking at his locker.

On the practice field on Wednesday, Zappe and rookie Malik Cunningham took the only quarterback snaps in the part of practice open to the media as Mac Jones was relegated to spectator status during that portion of practice.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that the Patriots are preparing Zappe to start — if all goes as expected.

MORE: New England Patriots Depth Chart

While Zappe said “nothing is set in stone” on Thursday, all signs seem to point to him being the starter. Sources say Jones is “emotionally and mentally beat up.”

This season, Jones has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Zappe has not performed well during his times stepping in for Jones, as he has completed 48.7 percent of his pass attempts for 158 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.

The Patriots offense ranks No. 31 in the NFL, and while Zappe may not be a better option, it was inevitable that the change would happen eventually.

Bill Belichick has still been reluctant to name a starter officially.

“Yeah, I’m not going to make any announcements on our lineup at any position,” Belichick told reporters Wednesday morning. “So, it doesn’t matter what the position is. We’ll see how practice goes, see if everybody is ready to go. Hopefully, everybody is ready to go, see what the injury situation is, and we’ll go with who we think is best on Sunday.”

While Zappe has not performed well this season, there is a glimmer of hope looking back on a pair of games from last season.

While Jones was out due to a high ankle sprain in October 2022, Zappe performed well. He led the Patriots to a 2-0 record during the games he started — finishing the season completing 65 of 92 passes for 781 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

“I’m taking it day-by-day,” Zappe said. “Treating every rep I get in practice like it’s a game rep and preparing like I do every other week.”

The Patriots will be taking on the 4-7 Chargers on Sunday.

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