Patriots OC Bill O'Brien hints practice will be guide for QB call

Have the Patriots failed Mac Jones? (1:32)

Dan Orlovsky and Mike Greenberg wonder who is responsible for Mac Jones' struggles in New England. (1:32)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien said Monday that the team's starting quarterback decision will be made by head coach Bill Belichick, while noting that Mac Jones was still take first-unit reps in practice after being benched in the team's Week 10 loss.

"For me, I basically get everybody ready to play," O'Brien answered, when asked if Jones was still the team's starter. "At the end of the day, Bill [Belichick] will make that decision at some point and we'll go from there."

The Patriots had one practice during their bye last week. O'Brien detailed how the team handled the quarterback position -- which includes Jones, top backup Bailey Zappe and No. 3 option Will Grier -- and hinted that the Patriots will choose their starting quarterback for Sunday's game at the New York Giants based on what unfolds in practice this week.

"Mac took the first-team reps. Bailey rotated in there. Will Grier rotated in there," O'Brien said.

"One of the reasons I really enjoy coaching here is you have to earn it on the practice field. You have to strive for perfection on the practice field and then hopefully that leads to good execution in the games. Right now, we haven't had consistent enough execution in the games.

"So, we'll see what happens down the road here. We have to have good practices, and then we can all determine, at every position, who should play the most."

Jones' hold on the starting job is in question after Belichick pulled him from the team's 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 12 after Jones threw an interception with 4:25 remaining. Tight end Mike Gesicki was open in the end zone but Jones, feeling pressure from his blind side, badly underthrew him.

The Patriots still had a chance for a comeback win when they got the ball back at their own 14-yard line with 1:52 remaining and no timeouts. Belichick, who later said he felt the team needed a change, inserted Zappe into the game. Zappe was intercepted on the eighth play of the drive.

The game continued a season-long struggle for the Patriots, who are 2-8 and in last place in the AFC. They rank 31st in the NFL in points scored, averaging 14.1 per game.

Shaky quarterback play has been a notable issue, as well as a mix-and-match offensive line that has used seven different starting configurations in 10 games. The team's pass-catchers also don't consistently threaten opposing defenses.

Asked about Jones hitting a rough stretch, O'Brien said Monday: "Everything is fixable. I think at times, Mac has played really well. I also think it's really important to point out there are 10 other guys on the field. Everybody has to play better. Then there's coaches on the sideline; we all have to coach better. That's the truth.

"I don't believe in yips or anything like that. Mac has played well. Mac will play well again."

Jones has been pulled from three games this season and is 212 of 324 for 2,031 yards, with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has been sacked 21 times.

In the third quarter of the Patriots' most recent game, which was played in Frankfurt, Germany, O'Brien was seen lighting into him on the sideline, passionately pointing at his computer tablet after a near interception on a third-down pass.

"I think that was just coaching in the moment. That's kind of the way I coach," O'Brien explained. "Sometimes the way to get a point across is to be very demanding and very intense about it. That's who I am. That's how I've always coached.

"Sometimes that rubs certain players the wrong way. Sometimes players want that. I don't want to speak for Mac, but I think Mac wants to be coached and wants to be told, 'Look, this can be better.'"