The Patriots' new quarterback controversy, conundrum or quandary -- whichever you prefer -- has produced a clear answer for Week 8.
Mac Jones will be New England's starter against the 5-2 New York Jets, coach Bill Belichick indicated to reporters Thursday.
"Mac took a full workload yesterday," Belichick said. "I expect him to be fully available here for the game and ready to go.
"He's ready to do that, so that's what he needs to prepare for the game, and that's what our offensive unit needs, everyone working together, so we'll get that this week.
"I talked to all the quarterbacks. Everybody knows where we're at."
Belichick has the quarterback situation sorted out for at least this week. But the long-term plan remains uncertain.
Jones started in New England's last game, a Monday night affair against Chicago, but was replaced by rookie Bailey Zappe as planned in the first half. Zappe threw two quick touchdown passes, giving the Patriots a temporary lead, and although Belichick said at halftime both quarterbacks would play in the second half, Jones didn't see the field. This sparked new speculation that Jones' future might be less certain than previously known, but Belichick is sticking with his usual starter for at least this week.
"That's where we're at, OK? ... I don't want to go through all the hypotheticals," Belichick said. "That's not where we're at. We're getting ready for the Jets. That's where we're at. Period. ... If you're going to give me a bunch of hypothetical situations, I don't know what those hypotheticals are. So I'm not going to get into that."
Statistically, New England is better with Zappe. The Patriots (3-4) have scored on 40 percent of possessions in which Zappe has taken the field, as opposed to just 26.5 percent with Jones. But Belichick's Patriots spent a first-round pick on Jones in 2021, so they're not about to give up on the Alabama product just because his backup had a few positive showings.
Based on Belichick's comments, he's already tired of discussing the topic.
"We started the game the way we wanted to start it last week, and we talked about the way it ended up," Belichick said. "This week's a different week, a different situation. Mac will be our quarterback."
Jones could do himself a lot of good if he went to New York, tossed a few touchdowns and led the Patriots to a win. Until then, though, this storyline isn't going away.