New England Patriots: The QB who should start Week 8 vs NY Jets

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 24: Mac Jones #10 and Bailey Zappe #4 of the New England Patriots stand on the field prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 24: Mac Jones #10 and Bailey Zappe #4 of the New England Patriots stand on the field prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots getting trounced by the Chicago Bears 33-14 Monday night derailed what was a nice bounce-back two-game winning streak. The team now still sits solely in last place in the AFC East with their paltry 3-4 record.

Sunday they play the surprisingly resurgent New York Jets on the road. The former laughingstock Jets are now 5-2, just a half-game behind the dominant Buffalo Bills in the Division. How the tables have turned after the departure of a certain No.12 from Foxborough after the 2019 season.

Now, rather than debating whether the Pats can secure the top seed in the AFC, Patriot Nation is debating whether their inconsistent club can even get out of last place. It is what it is, and it’s not looking great at the moment.

One major issue that needs to be sorted is who is the New England Patriots quarterback not only against the Jets but maybe for the rest of the season and beyond.

The New England Patriots need to make a decision at Quarterback

One of the last things anticipated this season was any kind of discussion of who should be the starting quarterback. Mac Jones had a solid rookie season and was a Pro Bowler (of sorts).

Behind him were journeyman Brian Hoyer and a very unanticipated 4th round draft pick, Bailey Zappe. The job was Mac’s until it wasn’t. It wasn’t when he suffered a dreaded high ankle sprain, a very difficult injury to overcome at best.

Yet, when Hoyer was subsequently injured himself, the rookie Zappe entered the fray against Green Bay and nearly engineered a win. Then he took down the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns (not exactly the iron of the NFL but necessary wins nonetheless).

When Jones was deemed healthy enough to play, the question arose, who should start at quarterback against Chicago? The thought here was that you go with the hot hand in Zappe. He had played solid football and won two straight. Winning is the goal.

Unfortunately, Bill Belichick decided to start Jones, and that didn’t go very well at all. Jones was pulled in the second quarter for Zappe. After scoring two touchdowns, the wheels came off the wagon for the precocious rookie.

He threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Game, set, and match was handed to the Bears on a platter. Zappe completed a pedestrian 63 percent of his passes, 14 of 22 for a mere 185 yards and one TD.

New England Patriots quarterback on Sunday should be Zappe

So who should start on Sunday? The answer in this space is the guy who should have started against the Bears, the rookie Bailey Zappe. Belichick made a decision and it backfired by starting Jones. Here’s why.

First, it was questionable whether Jones was really healthy at all on Monday night and he was likely not at 100 percent. So why take a chance on ruining his rehab?

Second, and most importantly, Zappe had done everything expected of him and more. He came close to beating the Packers away and then he took out the Lions and the Browns.

And most importantly, he didn’t lose those games for you, the first imperative for a rookie quarterback. Zappe had performed admirably in the three games in which he had had his debut.  So why make a change?

The goal is to win and Zappe had done just that while Jones even when healthy had been underwhelming in his first five games. He also seemed dissatisfied with the new offense (such as it is) while Zappe seemed to run it like a well-oiled machine.

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And lastly, the move didn’t make much sense since it likely sent a signal to the entire team that winning was secondary to, whatever. Perhaps that was playing a former first-round pick who may or may not be fully healthy over a rookie fourth-rounder because that’s the order of things? Who knows?

Belichick of course reversed direction in the second quarter and benched Jones totally confusing things once again. The mistake was clear, Zappe should have started and if he had faltered, then you bring on Jones. That keeps things in their rightful place and consistent with the view, that if you perform, aka win, you play.

dark. Next. New England Patriots: 3 major issues that popped up in Week 7 loss

The decision this Sunday should be clear. You do what you should have done against Chicago, you start Zappe and hope to get the wins back on track. If he continues to throw picks etc., you bring in Jones and that’s that.

However, if he wins, then maybe just maybe you have another 2001 situation on your hands, and as the Big O, former WEEI radio legend used to say, “How’d that work out for them?” The answer six Super Bowl wins later was, pretty darned good.