clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 questions with Pats Pulpit: Who starts at QB, and much more

Let’s learn some things about the Patriots

Washington Commanders v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Our ‘5 questions’ segment is late this week. Taylor Kyles of SB Nation’s Pats Pulpit answers our questions with New York Giants vs. New England Patriots on tap Sunday.

Ed: So, who starts at quarterback for New England and does it really matter?

Taylor: Frankly, I don’t think it will. I’d expect this to be a run-heavy plan considering how poorly Mac Jones played in Germany despite the offense asking him to do the bare minimum. It’s been reported that most in the Patriots building don’t even know who the starter will be, which is the vibe we’ve gotten from player throughout the week. If Bailey Zappe plays, it will be a sign that New England has lost faith in Jones, as the talent and experience gap is significant. The Patriots simply don’t have a starting-caliber starter at the position, so Giants defenders should be happy regardless of who’s under center.

Ed: There is so much speculation about Bill Belichick’s future. What are your expectations and what are your feelings about Belichick as the season winds down? Also, if the Patriots move on would you expect someone like Joe Judge to get the job, or would New England go outside and do a complete reset?

Taylor: I have a ton of respect for Bill Belichick, and his defenses have buoyed the team since Mac Jones was drafted. But the writing has been on the wall for a while that he might be losing his touch. His draft history, particularly in recent years, has been pretty terrible, and he’s failed to surround him quarterbacks with steady line play or playmakers since late 2019. On the field, New England’s special teams haven’t played up to their typical standard since Joe Judge’s initial departure, and the team’s discipline in general has ranged from spotty to horrendous. Belichick also tends to have at least one head-scratching decision a game, which has been magnified by the team losing.

I think Joe Judge’s title as assistant head coach is more to help him get another job elsewhere. Jerod Mayo seems like the top internal candidate to replace Belichick, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a full redo across the organization. That said, I hope they manage to keep most of the defensive staff, which has done its job through a tough couple of years.

Ed: If you could take any Giants player and put him into New England’s lineup, who would it be? Why?

Taylor: Dexter Lawrence without hesitation. The Patriots’ edge depth has been tested this season, but having a pair of every-down game wreckers in Lawrence and Christian Barmore would make everyone’s job easier. It would also free Davon Godchaux, who’s having one of the best seasons of his career, to play more defensive tackle rather than nose, where I think he’s most effective.

Ed: Jabrill Peppers was a good player for the Giants. What sort of role does he have for New England, and what kind of player has he been?

Taylor: Jabrill Peppers has emerged as both a playmaker and leader for the Patriots in what’s been a down year for the rest of the safety group. He’s more vocal after a year in the system, serving as the primary deep safety while rotating into the slot in big nickel packages. New England has done a great job maximizing Peppers’ strengths while covering his weaknesses, only giving him man coverage assignments against running backs and tight ends from time to time. Peppers has forced multiple momentum-swinging turnovers, and he’s PFF’s highest graded run defender thanks to his aggressive mentality. The former Wolverine has been a joy to watch over two seasons, and I have a feeling he’ll be a captain this time next year.

Ed: DraftKings Sportsbook lists the Patriots as the favorites in this game. We talk about tanking a lot. Would you be happier if the Patriots won or lost on Sunday?

Taylor: Odd place to be this early in the season, but I’d much prefer if they lost. The roster needs a major overhaul, especially on offense, and higher picks could be the difference between getting your favorite QB prospect. Outside of draft position, the only things to play for are pride and 2024 evaluations.