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Mac Jones will make a push to play on Monday night

New England's defense has shown improvement week after week, and reports indicate that Mac Jones will be available on Monday night against the Bears, but whether or not Bill Belichick uses him remains to be seen.

Four weeks ago today, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain. As the Patriots prepare to face the Bears on Monday night, the question becomes whether Jones is ready to play -- and whether the team will let him.

But who really knows? Whether intended or not, the Mac Jones situation has become one of the league’s biggest mysteries. Coach Bill Belichick repeatedly has declined to guarantee that Jones will get his job back when fully healthy. Whatever the broader purpose, that’s the reality.

We’re hearing Jones is closing in on 90 percent, and that he’ll make a push to play. For any starting quarterback, the team has to ask itself whether it would prefer QB1 at something below 100 to a fully-healthy backup. Tomorrow night, it’s possible Jones is healthy enough to be QB2, in the event rookie Bailey Zappe gets injured.

Regardless, the Patriots have climbed from 1-3 to 3-3 in the past two weeks with Zappe starting because of a total team effort, highlighted by the defense and the running game. There seems to be no reason to mess with the overall formula now. Still, Belichick has earned the ability to mad-scientist his way through whatever situation he chooses.

UPDATE 9:39 a.m. ET: A prior version of this article indicated that the game is in Chicago. I got my wires crossed on that one. The story has been revised. I apologize for the mistake.