Jones being spotted by media members in the open portion of practice with the first-team unit fueled speculation the Patriots would continue with him under center in Week 12 against the New York Giants.
In reality, the team still hasn’t made a decision on what they’re going to do at quarterback moving forward. It feels more like an open competition at practice to see who earns the opportunity to start for the team. O’Brien shared more insight on the situation when speaking with the media on Monday morning.
“The other day at practice Mac took the first team reps. Bailey [Zappe] rotated in there, Will Grier rotated in there,” O’Brien said, via WEEI’s Mike Kadlick. “You know, so we’ll see. I think what I’m saying is, that’s really important… one of the reasons why I really enjoy coaching here is you have to earn it on the practice field.”
This will be a week of evaluating for the Patriots, but ultimately, the final say on the quarterback decision will come from coach Bill Belichick.
“For me, I basically get everybody ready to play,” said O’Brien. “At the end of the day, Bill [Belichick] will make that decision.”
The fact that Jones hasn’t been completely ruled out as a starter could be looked at as a positive from his perspective. New England hasn’t completely closed the door on him being their best option currently at quarterback.
If Zappe and Grier fail to grab the reins of the opportunity clearly dangling in front of them, it will be business as usual for the Patriots with Jones under center in Week 12.