Jonathan Kraft: Bill Belichick has 'earned' right to manage Patriots QBs his way

Jonathan Kraft: Belichick has 'earned' right to manage Patriots QBs his way originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's handling of the quarterback situation has received plenty of criticism, especially in the immediate aftermath of the team's lackluster loss to the Chicago Bears last week.

Mac Jones started that game versus the Bears but was pulled early in the second quarter after just three offensive drives. He was replaced by rookie Bailey Zappe, who also failed to impress in a 33-14 defeat.

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How does ownership feel about Belichick's management of the quarterbacks?

“Here’s what I do know: Bill Belichick is the greatest coach that’s ever coached in the NFL and arguably as great of a coach as there’s been in any sport," Patriots president Jonathan Kraft told 98.5 The Sports Hub before Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

"I say that because he's achieved what he's achieved in a salary cap era. All the other names you hear about compared to Bill are guys who coached in a league with much less than 32 teams, no salary cap and no free agency.

Kraft later added: "Bill’s earned the right to manage the team that way. If he thought that was the right way to do it, we support that."

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Kraft also gave Jones plenty of support, praising the second-year quarterback's work ethic and leadership.

“I think we have somebody who loves the game of football," Kraft said. "That matters to him. He's in the building around the clock and cares deeply about it. In my conversations with him, you see a guy who’s a leader. I know the people in the locker room, the other players believe he's a strong leader and a leader of the team. That gives you a foundation to be a very good quarterback."

Jones had a good rookie season overall, but he has struggled since beating the Buffalo Bills on the road in a windy Monday night game last December. He's won just two of his last nine starts, and six of those losses were by double digits.

The Patriots need Jones to engineer a turnaround ASAP because the team's playoff chances are quickly dwindling with each loss.