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‘I think he needs to sit’: Scott Zolak thinks the Patriots should bench Mac Jones

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Morning Sports Update

“I don’t see any lack of effort from the team, I just see lack of talent.”

Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe at Patriots practice in November 2023. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Scott Zolak’s take on the Patriots’ quarterback situation: Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak spoke about the troubled current state of the team as the co-host of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Bertrand & Zolak” on Tuesday.

Zolak, having examined New England’s many issues amid a 2-9 season, doesn’t think players are quitting. Still, he offered what was arguably an even more distressing assessment.

“I don’t see any lack of effort from the team, I just see lack of talent,” said Zolak.

He took aim at the performance of tight end Mike Gesicki.

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“Mike Gesicki should not play again,” Zolak bluntly noted, adding later that he thinks Gesicki — signed in the offseason as a free agent from the Dolphins — is “a problem.”

“You throw Pharaoh Brown in the game, and after the whistle he’s blocking down field 12 yards. Give me that guy every day, and he will catch anything you throw around him,” Zolak said of the backup tight end. “He’s a big target. He’s one of the biggest guys on the team. I’m like, ‘How do you not play this guy? Oh, because we’ve got Mike Gesicki.’”

“Those days are over. I think now Pharaoh Brown plays,” Zolak added. “After yesterday, Pharaoh Brown plays.”

As a former quarterback, Zolak also discussed his take on Mac Jones. While he didn’t place all of the blame for the team’s lack of success at Jones’s feet, Zolak still maintained that it’s time for a change.

“This is why he’s in the position he’s in, meaning Mac, because [he] doesn’t trust the line, or trust the receivers,” Zolak said of players like Gesicki, who in his view haven’t helped Jones enough.

“They can’t get open, and now [he] even has his own issues,” Zolak continued, referencing Jones. “So now it’s a collection of things where I don’t think it’s fixable right now, and I think he needs to sit. I think Bailey Zappe should play the rest of the year because you’re at a point now where you’ve pulled your starting quarterback in four of 11 games.”

Citing his own experience as a backup on a losing team (his rookie season with the Patriots came in a dismal 2-14 campaign in 1992), Zolak argued that Zappe’s relief appearances for Jones haven’t looked great in part because he’s also been placed in less-than-ideal circumstances.

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“I’ve lived it. Hey, believe me, I was there in [1992-1993] when these year comparisons start coming, when you’re 2-9 and it sucks,” Zolak recalled. “You’re the backup [quarterback]. You don’t want to go into a game under certain circumstances.

“Like I said, and I stand by it, give him a week of practice.”

Trivia: Scott Zolak made his first career start in a dramatic 37-34 overtime win against the Colts in November 1992. Who was the Indianapolis quarterback playing opposite Zolak that day?

(Answer at the bottom.)

Hint: He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft.

Scores and schedule:

The Celtics clobbered the Bulls 124-97, achieving the necessary margin of victory that — along with the Nets’ win over the Raptors — allowed Boston to clinch a spot in the NBA In-Season Tournament knockout round.

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The next tournament matchup comes on Monday against the Pacers in Indiana at 8 p.m.

Prior to that, the Celtics will face the 76ers at home on Friday in a regular season matchup at 7:30 p.m.

Elsewhere, the Bruins host the Sharks on Thursday at 7 p.m.

More from Boston.com:

Some Celtics moments from Tuesday: Boston overwhelmed the Bulls, with Jaylen Brown’s 30-point night leading the way.

With the team needing to achieve at least a 23-point margin of victory, the end-of-game put-backs hit a little differently on Tuesday. The TD Garden crowd voiced its approval at this highlight from Sam Hauser.

On this day: In 1998, Adam Vinatieri scored possibly the easiest two-point conversion in NFL history. After Drew Bledsoe found Ben Coates for the game-winning one-yard touchdown pass with no time remaining (coming in controversial circumstances after New England was given a beneficial pass interference call), the Bills decided to simply leave the field.

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With no Buffalo defense to stop him, Vinatieri converted to the cheers of the Foxboro Stadium crowd, capping a 25-21 Patriots win.

Daily highlight: Former Celtic Vincent Poirier found Sergio Rodriguez with a between-the-legs pass before having it thrown back up to him for the tremendous alley-oop dunk in a Real Madrid win against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Trivia answer: Jeff George



Source: Boston Globe

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