2. To Get a Look at the Other QB Options
Bill Belichick has fiddled with his quarterback depth since the preseason ended, signaling some lacking confidence in Jones. After all, the team wouldn't be concerned with bringing in new guys every few weeks if they were particularly set at the postion.
Well, now is the time for Belichick to see what toys he's stashed away. New England currently has three non-Jones QBs who must get a look with the starter's current struggles.
Bailey Zappe's the obvious choice to take over under center as the Pats' primary backup. He did help New England pick up wins in both of his starts last season, which included an impressive 309-yard, 2-TD outing in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns.
That being said, Zappe didn't do enough to ever take the role from Jones last year. Then he struggled this preseason, which made the team comfortable enough to cut him and risk losing the former fourth-round pick on waivers. He also hasn't done much (7 completions for 79 yards in two games) when playing in relief of Jones in 2023, though it's hard to expect much from him in the offense's current state.
Will Grier and Malik Cunningham, meanwhile, provide possible wild cards. Grier was a valued member of the Dallas Cowboys' QB room over the last two years, though he never actually suited up in any games for the team. He did ball out in the preseason finale though, flashing his upside with four total touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 passing) and 358 combined yards (305 passing, 53 rushing).
Speaking of preseason performers, Cunningham turned heads with his play for New England. The dual threat out of Louisville showed his potential when he led the Pats on a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive thanks to his arm (3/4 for 19 yards) and legs (5 rushes for 34 yards and 1 TD) against the Houston Texans.
Jones and Zappe are both known (and underwhelming) commodities at this point. While Belichick isn't one to throw caution to the wind, the results may surprise him if lets Grier or Cunningham try to make some plays.