FOXBOROUGH – Tuesday marks the Patriots first practice in their preparation for the New York Giants. At this point, it’s unknown who the team will prepare to start at quarterback inside MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Following a 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, where starter Mac Jones was benched for the third time this season, the Patriots come off of their bye week with more questions than answers at an important position.
On Tuesday, when asked about who will start at quarterback, Belichick said he told all his players “to be ready to go.” That leaves the Patriots with four options – Jones, Bailey Zappe, Will Grier, and Malik Cunningham.
Throughout his eight-minute press conference used some iteration of ‘be ready to go’ 11 different times when asked about his quarterback position.
Here’s everything Belichick said on Tuesday about his quarterback position:
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Has a decision been made for a starting quarterback for this weekend?
Belichick: I told all the players the same thing: be ready to go. Hopefully, they will be.
Have you made a decision on the starting quarterback regardless of what you said to the players?
Belichick: I told everybody to be ready to go.
There’s a difference between what you tell them and whether or not you made a decision.
Belichick: I’ll let you know on Sunday.
Bill O’Brien said yesterday that Will Grier took first-team reps last week. Was that the first time that’s happened this season?
Belichick: Well, 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 and less stuff on cards and scout team things. That was pretty much true for everybody across the board. We didn’t work on any scout team plays. We just run our plays. Everybody got to run what we ran. We had some guys out there. Some guys weren’t out there. A lot of the guys that played, have played a lot, didn’t practice as much.
Is there a possibility Malik Cunningham could play at quarterback?
Belichick: I told every player to be ready to play. So, we’ll see how things go and go from there.
Whoever does start at quarterback 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.
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. There will be even less time than we have now.
Have you given any thought to having a few different players play quarterback on Sunday?
Belichick: I’ve told all players to be ready to go.
Will it impact how you game plan based on not knowing who’s going to be playing?
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 speaking, when would a head coach 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. 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.
Friday would you want people to know the decision?
Belichick: One day at a time. Today is Tuesday.
Is it a competition this week?
Belichick: I told everybody to be ready to go.
Is your decision based on this week?
Belichick: It’ll be based on what I think is best for the team and I told everybody to be ready to go. Hopefully, they will.
Bill O’Brien said that there are enough reps at quarterback in practice to have two to 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 run as many reps as they want to have. So, 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 are picking from multiple options, can you afford those quarterbacks enough reps to make the proper decision?
Belichick: Everybody needs to be ready to go. You saw what happened in the Dallas game. Jones went out. 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. All the guys. The guys who are active – if they get a chance to play, hopefully, they’ll play well and we’ll coach well.