Bill Belichick Wants All Four Patriots QBs To Do This Ahead Of Giants Game

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick faced a barrage of questions Tuesday about the Patriots’ biggest unknown: Who will start at quarterback this Sunday against the New York Giants?

The head coach revealed … next to nothing.

Belichick did not say which QB would start the Week 12 contest at MetLife Stadium, nor how and when he’d make that decision, if he hadn’t already. He wouldn’t say whether the Patriots were considering using more than one signal-caller as part of their game plan. Based on his comments, we might not have any of those answers until kickoff.

All Belichick would divulge was that he wanted all four of New England’s options — incumbent Mac Jones, backup Bailey Zappe, third-stringer Will Grier and undrafted rookie QB/receiver Malik Cunningham, who is on the practice squad — to be “ready to go.”

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He reiterated a variation of that line 12 times during his eight-minute news conference, the first two minutes of which were devoted to a scouting report on the Giants.

Here is a full transcript of the relevant questions and Belichick’s responses:

Has a decision been made on the starting quarterback for this weekend?
Belichick: “I’ve told all the players the same thing: be ready to go. So hopefully, they will be.”

Have you made a decision on the starting quarterback?
Belichick: “I’ve told everybody to be ready to go.”

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But there’s a difference in what you’re telling them and whether you made a decision.
Belichick: “Well, I’ll let you know on Sunday.”

Could Malik Cunningham have a fair shot at playing?
Belichick: “I told everybody to be ready to play. So, we’ll see how things go and go from there.”

Whoever does start on Sunday, wouldn’t it be more advantageous to have them take the bulk of the starting reps to prepare for the Giants?
Belichick: “I want everybody to be prepared.”

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How much of a challenge will that be when you have three, maybe four possible guys?
Belichick: “It’s everybody’s job to do the best they can to be prepared. We’ll play a game on Thursday (next month) where there will be even less time than there is now.”

Have you given any thought to having a few different players play quarterback on Sunday?
Belichick: “I’ve told all the players to be ready to go.”

Would it impact how you game-plan, though, not knowing who is going to be playing quarterback?
Belichick: “I think whoever we put in there will be able to do what we ask them to do. Otherwise, we wouldn’t ask them to do it.”

Abstractly thinking, when would a head coach generally want the player, the offense and the entire team to know who’s going to start at that position?
Belichick: “Everybody needs to be ready to go. So, that’s where we are for today. Today’s Tuesday. Go out there, be prepared, be ready to take advantage of their opportunities and we’ll go to Wednesday.”

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But is it, like, Friday that you want people to be apprised of the decision?
Belichick: “One day at a time. Today’s Tuesday.”

So is it a competition this week?
Belichick: “I told everybody to be ready to go.”

But will your decision, whenever that happens, be based on this week?
Belichick: “It’ll be based on what I think is best for the team. And I’ve told everybody to be ready to go. Hopefully, they will.”

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(Offensive coordinator) Bill O’Brien said there are enough reps in practice for the quarterbacks to have two compete for the starting job. Do you agree with that?
Belichick: “Look, at the quarterback position, you could run four times as many plays as we run and probably still not have as many reps as they want to have. All quarterbacks, they can go all day. They can take a lot of snaps, and they want to. Going back to Tom (Brady) and all the other quarterbacks we’ve had. They’ll take as many snaps as we can run.”

From a coaching perspective, to see a large enough sample in practice, if you were picking between multiple options, could you afford those quarterbacks enough reps?
Belichick: “Everybody needs to be ready to go. You saw what happened in the Dallas game (against the Giants). (Daniel) Jones went out, (Tommy) DeVito came in. That could happen on the first play of the game. It could happen in the middle of the game. Everybody needs to be ready to go. That’s our job right now — to prepare the team to play on Sunday. That’s all of them. Not one of them, not two of them, but all the guys. And then the guys who are active, if they get a chance to play, then hopefully they’ll play well and we’ll coach well.”

Belichick also explained that Grier saw some reps with the top offense last week, which O’Brien revealed Monday, because the Patriots did not run any scout-team plays during their lone bye-week practice.

“Last week we had an opportunity to kind of give the guys that didn’t play as much an opportunity to run more of our stuff,” Belichick said. “… We didn’t work on any scout-team plays. We just ran our plays, so everybody got to run what we ran. We had some guys who were out there; some guys weren’t out there. A lot of the guys that have played a lot didn’t practice as much.”

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The 2-8 Patriots are scheduled to practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week before traveling to East Rutherford, N.J.

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