New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said injured quarterback Mac Jones wouldn't practice Wednesday but is "definitely making a lot of progress in the last 48 hours" -- and then turned to theater in a news conference that sparked memories of when he repeated "on to Cincinnati" eight years ago.
Peppered with questions on the status of Jones, who sustained a high ankle sprain Sunday and is likely to miss multiple weeks, Belichick stiff-armed most of them with a smile and the same answer.
Do you expect Jones to start on Sunday against the Packers?
"Take it day by day," Belichick said.
Is the plan for Jones to have a procedure to help his recovery?
"Day by day. Day. By. Day," he said, notably pausing between the words. "That's the plan. Day. By. Day."
Are the Patriots and Jones on the same page on how best to move forward?
"I'm not really sure what the nature of the question is, but day by day he's getting better. We'll see how it goes. Day. By. Day."
Does he have a high ankle sprain?
"Day. By. Day. What do I look like -- a doctor? An orthopedic surgeon? I don't know. Talk to the medical experts."
What do the medical experts on staff say to you?
"Day by day. We'll evaluate him day by day. What difference does it make to me? Do you think I'm going to read the MRI? That's not my job."
But it's theirs, and they talk to you about it, right?
"Yeah. It's day by day. It's getting better day by day. We'll see how it is tomorrow. It's a lot better than it was yesterday. We'll see what it is."
Belichick, 70, who confirmed that 14-year veteran Brian Hoyer would start Sunday if Jones doesn't play, seemed to enjoy the back and forth as reporters checked notes to chart how many times he said "day by day" by the end of the news conference.
The answer: 12.