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MORSE: Jones/Zappe Competition, Patriots Hall of Fame, Morse’s Morsels

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
2 months ago at 1:11 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

MORSE: Jones/Zappe Competition, Patriots Hall of Fame, Morse’s MorselsOct 30, 2022; East Rutherford,NJ, USA; New England Patriots quarterbacks Mac Jones (10) and Bailey Zappe (4) warm up before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones vs Bailey Zappe a Quarterback Competition

The radio talk shows are salivating over a potential full and open QB competition.  They want the controversy to drive their ratings and give them easy fodder to fill the 4-hour timeslot.

This would be absolutely stupid.  Zappe is in no way equal or deserving of the competition.  Yes, he did well versus two of the worst defenses in the NFL last year (Detroit and Indianapolis).  When he played a legit defense (Chicago) he fell flat on his face.

Mac Jones played very well in his rookie year under the complicated system of Josh McDaniels.  The offense was dumbed down last year, not to aid Jones but because the two coaches trying to call the offense were neophytes.  Mac Jones’s frustration was with the offensive coaches and the poor play of the Offensive line.  By the way, Matt Patricia was supposed to be the O-line coach too.  Spent too much time on the offense and none on the O-line.

The Patriots apparently view QB Trace McSorley as a player worth working with, if only over the summer.

McSorley does have some tools as a passer worth working with. He excels when throwing downfield and outside the numbers from clean pockets, shows eye discipline to hold post safeties versus a single-high look, has the touch and accuracy to put the ball away from coverage, and knows when to throw back-shoulder passes.  He also is a very mobile QB.  At Penn State, he ran for 1,697 yards and 30 TDs.  His passing numbers were 59.3 %, 9899 yards, 77 TDs, and 25 INT.

Not all is positive, though. There are plenty of turnover-worthy plays on McSorley’s résumé, especially underneath. His accuracy and footwork also wane significantly under pressure; he also oftentimes throws late and/or behind receivers on out-breaking routes and makes some rough decisions outside the pocket.

Trace McSorley was signed on a 1-year contract at the vet minimum.

A former sixth-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens, McSorley arrives in New England as a veteran of four NFL seasons — three in Baltimore and one in Arizona — and 6 games played and one GS.

This move has nothing to do with Mac Jones. Given some of the narratives that have been thrown around this offseason, this unfortunately needs to be said: signing McSorley has nothing to do with the team’s starting quarterback of the last two seasons, Mac Jones. The 27-year-old was brought aboard to improve the depth of the position and add a slightly different skillset — nothing more, nothing less.

The Patriots entered the offseason with three passers under contract: Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, and Brian Hoyer. The group was not meant to last, however, with Hoyer getting the axe in March; the 37-year-old was coming off a season that ended due to a Week 4 concussion and had lost his QB2 job to Zappe.  McSorely will probably end up as a Practice Squad player that will emulate the mobile QBs the Pats will face during the season.

I would not be surprised to see the team add another passer in the upcoming Draft.  An interesting point is that Zappe and McSorely are not the typical sizes the Patriots like at QB.  I think that bodes well for a QB like Stetson Bennett from Georgia.  A player to watch is UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson.  DTR played 5 years at UCLA, starting 48 of 50 games he played in, with 10,710 yards passing and 88 TDs. Note: In 2020 the COVID year the PAC 10 only played 5 games.  NCAA granted all players an extra year of eligibility.

With the compensatory portion of free agency still underway, signing McSorley could have an impact on New England’s compensatory draft picks formula for 2024. However, there are two reasons why that will not be the case: 1.) The Patriots were already in the red here even before this signing, and 2.) McSorley’s contract will likely not qualify for consideration anyway.

That latter point also means that the Patriots’ salary cap will not be hit at all by the signing since McSorley won’t be one of the top 51 contracts.

Patriots Hall of Fame Finalist Named

Mike Vrabel

Logan Mankins

Bill Parcells

For Vrabel, this year marks his seventh straight time as a finalist (2016-20, 22-23), while Parcells was nominated for the fifth time (2011-12, 2014, 2020, and 2023) and Mankins for the second straight time (2022-23).

 The Bios are from

Logan Mankins is recognized as one of the best offensive linemen in franchise history. He played nine of his 11 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots after joining the team as a first-round draft pick in 2005. The three-time team captain earned six Pro Bowl selections and six All-Pro honors (2007, 2009-13) during his time with New England, including first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors following the 2010 season. Despite playing his entire collegiate career as a left tackle, Mankins was moved to left guard when he joined the Patriots and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup. Mankins started all 130 regular seasons and 17 postseason games in which he appeared as a member of the Patriots. With Mankins in the lineup, the Patriots offense finished in the top 10 in eight of his nine seasons with the Patriots – 2005 (7), 2007 (1), 2008 (5), 2009 (3), 2010 (8), 2011 (2), 2012 (1), 2013 (7). Mankins finished his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15), earning a seventh Pro Bowl berth in his final season in 2015. He is a member of two of the Patriots All-Decade Teams (the 2000s and 2010s) and their 50th Anniversary team. Mankins is a finalist for the team’s Hall of fFme for the second straight year.

Bill Parcells was the head coach of the New England Patriots for four seasons (1993-96) and led the team to two playoff berths. After inheriting a team that had finished 14-50 in the previous four years, including an NFL worst 2-14 season in 1992, he brought the clout of a two-time Super Bowl Champion to the Patriots sidelines, infusing instant credibility in 1993 and finished his Patriots career with a 34-34 record, including 2-2 in the playoffs. In 1994, a season-ending seven-game win streak allowed the Patriots to clinch their first playoff berth in eight years. The performance earned Parcells NFL Coach of the Year honors. After finishing 6-10 in 1995, the Patriots rebounded with an 11-win season in 1996, tying the then-franchise record for wins and earning their first division title in 10 years. After a convincing victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-3 in the divisional playoff game in foggy Foxborough, the Patriots hosted their first AFC Championship game and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-6, to earn a trip to the Super Bowl for just the second time in franchise history. This is the fifth time that the Patriots Hall of Fame Nomination Committee has nominated Bill Parcells for Patriots Hall of Fame induction (2011, 2012, 2014, 2020, and 2023). On Feb. 2, 2013, Parcells was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is the only coach in NFL history ever to lead four different teams to the playoffs and three different teams to a conference championship game. He is a member of the Patriots’ 1990s All-Decade Team.

Mike Vrabel is a three-time Super Bowl Champion and is recognized as one of the most versatile linebackers and best free agent signings in team history. He joined the team before the 2001 season, following a four-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was used primarily on special teams and as a reserve linebacker. During his eight-year tenure in New England, Vrabel played a major role in the Patriots’ dynastic run that included three Super Bowl championships in four years (2001, 2003, and 2004). He exemplified positional versatility during his Patriots tenure by starting at both inside and outside linebacker, regularly lining up on offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations, and continually making valuable contributions on various special teams units. As a Patriot, he caught eight regular season passes and two more in the playoffs. All 10 of his receptions were for touchdowns, including touchdown receptions in back-to-back Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII and Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. He earned Pro Bowl and first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors following the 2007 season, the year the Patriots became the first team in NFL history to win 18 consecutive games in one season. During his Patriots career, Vrabel helped propel the Patriots to multiple NFL and franchise-record win streaks, including 21 consecutive wins (2003-04), 21 consecutive regular season wins (2006-08), 21 consecutive wins at home (2002-05) and 10 straight playoff victories (2001-05). During the 2006 season, he played a major role when the defense set a then-franchise record by allowing just 14.8 points per game. Vrabel is a Patriots Hall of Fame finalist for the seventh straight time.

Voting can be done at

I have already voted and given my vote to Bill Parcells.  It’s time to bury the hatchet.  The way that Parcells left the team has left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths.  He was negotiating a new contract with the NY Jets the week the team was getting ready to play the Super Bowl.  Parcells brought his acerbic style to the Patriots’ sideline and made them legitimate playoff contenders.  Parcells is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.  My favorite Parcells quote was his response about rookie Terry Glenn.  “He is like a ball in high grass …Lost”

Vrabel has been close but no cigar.  If he doesn’t get in this year it may be a long time until he would be selected.  Some fans may hold it against him that he is actively coaching another team in the league.

Mankins is deserving, but like Vrabel, he may have to wait a while if not selected this year.  I think there is a bias against O-lineman.

Patriots’ have the worst strength of schedule in the NFL

This tidbit from Warren Sharp, NBC Sports Analyst, has the Patriots with the 32nd-ranked schedule.  His projection is based upon the total wins projected by Las Vegas Oddsmakers.  I will add that Sharp does another analysis based on how the actual schedule lays out.  Last year the Patriots had the worst schedule when looking at the number of days off.  The Patriots lost 10 days of rest between games.  Consequently, the Buffalo Bills had the best at +12.   That also didn’t take into consideration the Patriots had the same Bye week as their next opponent the New York Jets.  No advantage there, but the Patriots still managed to win that game.

The improved competitiveness within the division makes it tough.  You have Allen, Tua, and probably Rodgers twice.  Then you also get both teams that played in the Super Bowl KC and Philadelphia.  They play at Las Vegas, Dallas, Denver (a house of horrors), and the New York Giants.  They have 9 home games but one of those will be in Germany.  I think the schedule will come out shortly after the draft.

Off-Season Workouts started Monday

Players were back in the building.  The only player that I know was missing was LB Anfernee Jennings.  He stayed in Dadesville Alabama where there was that mass shooting at a sweet 16 birthday party.  Jennings is from Dadesville and is a pillar in the community.   According to Mike Reiss, each player could make up to an average of $295K each in off-season workout bonus.

Coaches Speak

We heard from the coaching staff this week and confirmed what their roles will be.   Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien was refreshing.  He mentioned several times during his press conference the term “Clean Slate”.  I think that will be a recurring theme as the team heads into OTAs and workouts. 

I would hope that if the Patriots are going to have an open competition for the QB position, at least a hierarchy will be established before the training camp is started.  Start camp with one QB as the #1.  Play during camp can ultimately determine who will start the season.

Who is in the Draft Room?

Mike Reiss speculates upon who will be allowed in the Draft Room.  Reiss goes on to say that it is a very limited group including Camren Williams, Director of College Scouting; Matt Groh, Director of Player Personnel; Eliot Wolf, Director of Scouting; Steve Cargile, Pro Scouting Director; Jerod Mayo, Assistant to the Head Coach; and possibly Joe Judge in a role similar to what Ernie Adams did.   

I would add Berj Najarian, Director of Football and Head Coach Administration.  Of course, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, and Jonathan Kraft will be in the room, but that is it.

You can get a Starting WR anywhere in the draft!

These nuggets are from Matt Groh.  Is he signaling that the Pats will not draft a WR in the 1st round? 

“We are following the model of finding good football players”.   

“There are a lot of good WRs in this league that weren’t 1st round picks”.

Myles Bryant signs his RFA Tender

DB Myles Bryant signed his RFA tender making that 75 players on the roster right now.  I expect that Bryant will have plenty of competition in his attempt to stay on the roster.  There are several names on the roster that can easily be jettisoned to make room for Un-Drafted Free Agents. 

Tucker Addington LS isn’t beating out Joe Cardona.  Raleigh Webb isn’t going to make the team as a WR.  His role as the personal protector on the punt team will be going to another player. 

Also, Devon McCourty is still technically on the roster but will be a roster cut after June 1st so the team can spread the cap hit.

Patriots Draft Picks












That’s 11 draft picks.  Add those to the roster total of 75, which would leave only 4 UDFA.  Actually, the unsigned draft picks won’t count against the 90-man limit until they are signed.  So they could bring in 13-15 UDFAs if they would make those cuts.

Draft Week Schedule

Wednesday        Final Patriots 7-round Mock Draft

Thursday             Mock 1st round draft

Posted Under: Patriots News

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