Mac Jones' NFL career has been considerably rocky as of late. Following a solid rookie year, that ended with Pro Bowl honors, he was benched last season in favor of Bailey Zappe. He finished the 2022 season with 14 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
The New England Patriots offense has been a point of contention this season, and the team is coming off 10-6 Week 10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Jones was benched once again during that game, and there is now even more uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position heading into Sunday's matchup with the New York Giants.
Longtime Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not provide much insight earlier this week on whether Jones would be relegated to the backup role this weekend. Nevertheless, Jones appears to be doing what he can to show Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff that he is ready to start if he is called upon.
“Hope so. I mean, that’s the plan,” Jones said when asked directly if he will start. “A lot of that decision-making is things I can’t control, but I can control my attitude and my effort.”
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Jones is also aware that certain things are simply beyond his control.
“We’ve had good conversations,” Jones said. “Really what I’ve been focusing on is what I can control. Put a lot of thought into that, the things that I can control. … That’s what I can do, control what I can control.”
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Jones went for X-rays for an undisclosed injury after the loss in Germany. He also said that he had some bumps and bruises but isn’t limited in participation coming out of the bye week.
“I have things that I’m working through; everybody does. You’re playing NFL games every week. Every week’s a car crash in its own way, so you’re trying to get back from that,” he said. “The bye week definitely helped get the body back, and I’m looking forward to finishing this thing strong.”
Jones has started each of the first 10 games this season, but he has been pulled three times – twice for blowouts and once, in the Week 10 loss to the Colts, after throwing a fourth-quarter interception near the end zone.
With a chance to rally the Patriots, Bailey Zappe was 3 of 7 for 25 yards and finished by throwing an interception on a fake-spike play to seal the game.
Zappe, a fourth-round draft pick in 2022, appeared in four games, starting two — both wins — last season. The Patriots also have Will Grier, who started three games for Carolina in 2019, on the roster and rookie Malik Cunningham on the practice squad.
Earlier this week, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien said Jones, Zappe and Grier all took reps in practice with the first team during the off week. Jones said he wouldn’t let that derail him.
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“You take advantage of the reps you’ve had, right?” he said. “I’ve played a good amount of snaps in the NFL, I feel confident that I can go out there, feel prepared based on my preparation, film study and all those things.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.