Bill Belichick, Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe each explained away the New England Patriots' quarterback usage Monday night in the 33-14 blowout loss to Chicago, stating at the podium they discussed the rotation before the game.
The message apparently didn't make it all the way to the locker room.
The rest of the offense seemed surprised that Belichick pre-planned using two quarterbacks.
No. 1 receiver Jakobi Meyers, likewise, expressed his surprise when Zappe entered after three failed Jones drives.
"I would say it's a shock, but we don't really have time to focus on it too much," Meyers said. "The bullets are already flying by the time we realized it. You have to go out there and keep making plays."
During a Tuesday Morning appearance on WEEI, Belichick said he told the players who needed to be in the know.
"I talked to the quarterbacks. I talked to the leaders of the team," Belichick said, via Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston. "There was no lack of communication."
Jones started and struggled, completing 3 of 6 passes for 13 yards and an interception on three possessions. Following back-to-back three-and-outs to open the game, "Zappe! Zappe!" chants began raining down from the Foxborough crowd. The fans got their wish after Jones' interception.
"You hate to see one of your brothers treated like that," Meyers said of the chants and Jones getting benched. "You want to see him do well. You want to see everybody do well, including Zappe, but as far as getting caught up in it, you really don't have time to really focus on the decisions being made."
Zappe gave the Pats immediate juice with two quick touchdown drives that included a couple of Bears defensive breakdowns. But from there, the offense went silent again, and the Bears rattled off 23 straight points to seal the win.
Belichick said he planned to return to Jones, but with the lopsided scoreboard, he decided against it.
Meyers decried how Jones was treated, not just a perceived benching by coaches, but "the crowd, all of it. It was an ugly situation."
"It's tough as a man to see somebody who works so hard get that kind of treatment," Meyers said. "At the end of the day, we're all trying to feed our families. We have to go out there and make plays with whoever is throwing it."
The Patriots QB situation will be one of the biggest storylines heading into Week 8. Belichick's club faces the upstart New York Jets, who sit at 5-2. A win by Gang Green could knock the Pats out of any hope of clawing back into the division race.
Belichick always likes to keep his plans mum to gain a competitive advantage over his opponent. But maybe this week, he should at least share that plan with his own locker room, lest they be surprised once again by shuffling signal-callers.
Asked Tuesday on WEEI if he saw enough Monday night to determine a QB for Week 8, Belichick simply responded: "We’ll do what we think is best for the football team."
Later asked at his Monday news conference if Jones is the starter if he's healthy, Belichick again evaded:
"That's a hypothetical question. So let's see where that is and what that is."