FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick wouldn't name a starting quarterback on Wednesday morning. But based on what reporters were allowed to watch at the team's first practice of Week 13, it looks like Zappe Hour is upon us in New England.
In the brief segment of the practice that was open to the media, Bailey Zappe took the majority of the quarterback reps for the Patriots. And it was not Mac Jones who backed up Zappe and took the second round of QB reps on Wednesday; those snaps went to Malik Cunningham.
Jones did not get any reps while reporters were on hand for Wednesday's practice. He was just a spectator as the team ran through drills.
Jones was benched for the fourth time of the season during last week's loss to the Giants in New Jersey, after he threw two more interceptions in the first half of New England's 10-7 loss. Jones is now up to a dozen interceptions this season to just 10 touchdown passes.
It's difficult to envision a starting quarterback coming back from back-to-back benchings in close games, so this could be the week that Belichick finally makes the change at starting quarterback. Zappe didn't fare much better when he came in against the Giants, completing nine of his 14 passes for just 54 yards and a pick of his own. He's completed just 48.7 percent of his passes this year, with two interceptions and no touchdowns when taking over for Jones.
But Jones clearly needs a break after a demoralizing campaign thus far. So it could be Zappe getting the start against the Chargers with Cunningham backing him up. Cunningham has only been active for one game this season, playing six snaps in Week 6 against the Raiders. He lined up at quarterback for just two of those snaps, though he didn't throw a single pass in the 21-17 New England loss.
This could also be Belichick messing with everybody. Zappe and Jones were both in black jerseys, while Cunningham and the rest of the offensive players were wearing red jerseys on Wednesday. But having Jones spectate the session while reporters were allowed to watch is notable.
Chances are Belichick will keep everyone guessing until Sunday morning, but if the start of Wednesday's practice is an indication of his plans, it looks like the Patriots will be making a change at quarterback this weekend.
Tune in to Patriots-Chargers on WBZ-TV -- the television home of the New England Patriots. We get you ready starting Wednesday night with Patriots 1st Down on TV38 at 9:30pm, with Patriots All Access airing on WBZ-TV Friday night at 7pm. WBZ is the place to be on Sunday, with Patriots GameDay kicking off coverage at 11:30am, the Pats and the Chargers set to kick off at 1pm, and Patriots 5th Quarter following the game!
for more features.