After the embarrassing loss to the Indianapolis Colts in a game where Jones was benched, there was a shared belief that the Patriots would consider going in a different direction at quarterback. Grier was an obvious option because he was a player that had yet to take a snap this season.
There was a mystery surrounding him that seemed enticing for an offense that has failed long enough to know Jones and Zappe aren’t the answer. But Grier, who was signed in late September, couldn’t catch up after missing all of the spring and summer work with the Patriots.
Coach Bill Belichick alluded to this when appearing on Patriots All Access with Scott Zolak.
“(He’s doing) a little bit better each week,” Belichick said. “Just a little more familiarity with being able to run our plays. He just hasn’t had a chance to — you know what it’s like playing quarterback. The backup quarterback, you never get enough reps as it is.
“So, that’s the backup quarterback, and then the third quarterback is even less than that. And when you’re new and you haven’t been here in training camp and had the full background of OTAs and training camp and a chance really to run our core plays, it’s just a lot to catch up on.”
Grier failed to climb the depth chart, and the Patriots needed the open roster spot, which could be used to elevate offensive tackle Riley Reiff from injured reserve or Conor McDermott from the practice squad.
Per the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan, Jones and Zappe split all of the starting reps this week. With Malik Cunningham not getting quarterback reps and Grier now a free agent, that leaves Jones and Zappe as the only two options to start for the Patriots on Sunday.