Mac Jones’s time in Foxborough likely hit its nadir in the Patriots’ 10-7 loss to the Giants when he was benched for the fourth time this season after throwing two first-half interceptions. Things have now gotten so bad for Jones that arguably one of his biggest defenders in the media has seen enough.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky believes it’s time for Bailey Zappe to start at quarterback for the Patriots.
“I don’t think I’d be in disagreement with [Zappe starting],” Orlovsky said on WEEI’s “Jones and Mego” on Wednesday. “I believe it’s time to sit Mac Jones, because of everything that has gone down. Mac is a broken player. He just is. He’s a broken competitor right now.
“Whether you think it’s the best move for the team or not, I guess that’s up for debate,” Orlovsky added. “But I don’t disagree that if they move to Bailey Zappe, Malik Cunningham, Drew Bledsoe, that’s probably a better decision.”
Well, it appears Orlovsky is getting his wish. Zappe reportedly received the majority of the quarterback snaps at Wednesday’s practice and the Patriots are preparing to start him in Sunday’s game against the Chargers, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported.
The move could signal that Jones has played his final snaps with the Patriots. Cunningham was the primary backup quarterback during the media availability portion of Wednesday’s practice, which could mean that Jones has moved down to third-string quarterback with six games left in the season.
Jones’s performance is arguably the biggest reason why the Patriots’ offense ranks second-to-last in scoring and 25th in total offense. He’s completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 2,120 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 77 passer rating.
But Orlovsky doesn’t think a change at quarterback will do much for the Patriots’ offense, replying “no” when asked if the offense will play better with Zappe.
“I’m not saying Bailey’s a bad player. Bailey’s had some moments that were good moments, but I do not see anything in Bailey Zappe that is — I’ve said this guys, I don’t think anybody’s really going to change this offense that differently.”
Orlovsky went on to cite how ESPN’s wide receiver tracker system has the Patriots ranked last in separation over Jones’s three seasons in the league. The Patriots also rank last in ESPN’s pass-block win rate this season (45 percent).
Orlovsky has notably defended Jones throughout some of his struggles over the last two seasons, calling player development “impossible” with the Patriots’ offensive situation earlier in November and calling their offensive tape “absolutely awful” in a social media post on Tuesday. Earlier this season, Orlovsky also shared that Jones has reached out to him for pointers in the past to help improve his play.
The former NFL quarterback explained why he isn’t buying any arguing that Jones hasn’t dealt with adversity well this season, explaining that it’s “not a solo journey.”
“When you’re dealing with that adversity, you have to have people around you that can, in some way, at least on a Sunday for at least 3.5 hours, help you perform through that adversity,” Orlovsky said. “And that hasn’t been the case in New England and no one’s going to debate me on that.”
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