‘I wouldn’t say this is about one play’: Bill Belichick on why he replaced Mac Jones with Bailey Zappe

Patriots

Belichick was also asked about Robert Kraft’s pregame comments discussing the team’s “disappointing” season.

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during the Patriots’ loss to the Colts. Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Bill Belichick made the quick turnaround after returning from Germany, speaking to New England media on Monday morning following his team’s 10-6 loss to the Colts in Frankfurt on Sunday.

During his interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” Belichick defended the team’s performance despite the result (dropping the Patriots to 2-8). Asked if it was a low point in his New England tenure, he disagreed.

“I don’t think I’m following you,” Belichick said. “I mean we had a chance to win the game at the end, we just couldn’t make the plays to win it.”

Regarding end-of-game situations, he was asked about the decision to pull Mac Jones for Bailey Zappe on the final drive.

Belichick echoed comments he made in his postgame press conference on Sunday.

“We just felt like we needed to make a change at that point,” he explained.

Jones, who was sacked five times, completed 15 of 20 passes for 170 yards.

Yet on what could have been a go-ahead scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, he under-threw an intended pass for tight end Mike Gesicki in the end zone. The result was an interception, sending Jones to the bench after New England managed to recover the ball with time for one last possession.

On the topic of Jones’s costly turnover, Belichick said it wasn’t discussed afterward.

“We really moved on from the play and went to the next situation there,” he said. “So we didn’t really talk too much about that play. Gesicki’s on a deep over route, just didn’t get it to him.”

Was that moment — a red-zone turnover, specifically — the type of mistake that landed Jones on the bench?

“No I wouldn’t say this is about one play,” Belichick replied.

Later, during the virtual media availability held after the WEEI interview, a follow-up question was put to Belichick on the topic of what he meant by that statement.

Was it about the circumstances within just the game against the Colts, or was this about mistakes made throughout the season?

“Yeah, just the way the game was going,” he said.

Zappe made his third relief appearance of the season.

Though second-year quarterback entered the game on the final drive having not played previously during the day, Belichick maintained that he believed Zappe was prepared.

“Yeah, we’ve worked the two-minute drill,” he noted. “He’s got a lot of opportunities on that, and he’s actually done pretty well with it.”

On the Patriots’ last offensive play — a fake-spike that resulted in Zappe throwing the game-losing interception — Belichick was asked if he’d seen any reason why the Colts should’ve been flagged for a penalty (given the quarterback’s postgame comments).

“No,” was all that Belichick had to say on the subject.

Looking ahead, the speculation about which quarterback will start the Nov. 26 matchup against the Giants has already begun.

On the possibility of Zappe getting the start, the Patriots’ coach refused to get ahead of himself.

“I don’t know. We hadn’t really talked about that. We’re just getting back from Germany, just trying to get reorganized here,” said Belichick. “We haven’t talked about any of that.”

What does he think of Jones’s confidence level at this point?

“Look, we’re not having the kind of success we want to have, but we’re all competitors,” Belichick said in response. “We all show to work every day and every week. You’d have to ask Mac that question though.”

Given the ongoing struggles, questions about players’ motivation could become increasingly louder as the Patriots move closer to being officially eliminated from a playoff race.

Still, Belichick reiterated his usual approach.

“I feel like we’re working hard, we’re getting better at a lot of things,” he said. “We’ve just been in a lot of close games, and we just haven’t been able to finish and make enough plays to win.”

“If we do that, then the results change,” Belichick added.

Present to watch the Patriots in Germany on Sunday was team owner Robert Kraft, who expressed his thoughts about the “disappointing” season in a pregame interview with NFL Network.

“You’d have to talk to Robert about that,” Belichick said regarding Kraft’s comments.

Did the two speak after the loss?

“Well, yeah I mean briefly after the game,” he said. “Disappointing situation, obviously, the way the game ended.”


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