While New England Patriots quarterback Jones continues to appear poised to start the 2023 season, second-year signal-caller Bailey Zappe has also quietly seized the back up role behind Jones, which is another solid step forward for the former Western Kentucky standout.
Zappe’s emergence and his continued growth has seemingly led to Belichick’s decision not to bring in a veteran to anchor the group, which speaks volumes to how far Zappe has come. Clearly, the young QB already did exactly what a back-up needed to do last season, going 2-0 as a starter during Jones’ absence while he was out with an ankle injury.
He also nearly won his first appearance after he being thrust into action thanks to the concussion suffered by former Patriot Brian Hoyer in their Week 4 meeting out in Green Bay. That happened barely 10 minutes into the contest, yet Zappe didn’t miss a beat when he took over.
The then-rookie completed 10-of-15 for 99-yards and a touchdown in that game, with Patricia’s conservative playcalling both late in the contest and in overtime preventing Zappe from making a few plays that could have seen them pull off the upset against Aaron Rodgers.
Patricia called just four pass plays over the final 30-minutes of regulation while instead calling 14 rushing plays over that span.
The result ended up being a Packers win, which was disappointing, especially given how well Zappe had played.
So far this spring, Zappe has taken all the second-team reps and has left no doubt about where he is on the depth chart. He’s worked hard this offseason and the fact he’s already ascended to the #2 quarterback on an NFL team is definitely quite the accomplishment.
While he hasn’t been as sharp as Jones, Zappe has still been playing well. MassLive’s Mark Daniels has Jones completing 89% of his throws thus far, while Zappe came in at an impressive 75%, with Trace McSorely hitting 64% of his.
Belichick praised Zappe for his hard work this offseason, and also noted that the young QB’s conditioning has improved compared to last season.
“Bailey works hard like he always does,” said Belichick on Monday. “He puts in a lot of time. His conditioning is way better than it was last year. He’s really done a good job on that. It’s the same for all of the players at that position.”
“There’s a lot going on and a lot of moving parts. It’s good to get out there and have these days to work with our teammates, our receivers, tight ends, running backs, and work against our defense. It benefits everybody.”
Portions of the above appeared in this morning’s Patriots notebook, which is a daily column that features a variety of news and notes.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bailey Zappe Bill Belichick