After a few days off, the players will get back to work as the New England Patriots prepare to head to MetLife on Sunday to take on the Giants.
This is going to be a critical week for the Patriots, with a decision still seemingly looming at the quarterback position. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien spoke to reporters on Monday and declined to say who would be under center this weekend, which likely means there’s an evaluation potentially coming.
Mac Jones was still receiving the first team reps before the club broke ahead of the bye weekend, although it’s hard to read too much into that. Perhaps the goal there was to not upset the apple cart and create any unneeded distractions for the players before they went home for the weekend, especially since they likely needed a mental reset given how the season has unfolded.
Instead, it’s possible this could be the week a change is finally made at the position. The most likely scenario is that Bailey Zappe would be the one out there on Sunday with an opportunity to get New England back in the win column. The Giants are coming off a 31-point performance over the Commanders on Sunday, which included a 17-point fourth quarter in their 31-19 win over Washington.
The Patriots managed just six points in Germany against the Colts two weeks ago, which probably won’t be enough if Zappe and the offense hope to have any shot at turning things around this weekend.
As for how things may play out, it was interesting to look back at Zappe’s targets last season. The second-year quarterback had good success targeting Rhamondre Stevenson (16-of-18, 106yds), Hunter Henry (10-of-16, 128yds 1 TD), and DeVante Parker (8-of-12, 157yds 1 TD). He also had success with then-rookie Tyquan Thornton (7-of-12, 63yds 1TD), with the two players seemingly having fairly good chemistry together.
Thornton’s touchdown was arguably one of Zappe’s better plays, with the rookie sliding around the pocket and finding Thornton with a great throw in the back of the end zone.
Meanwhile, in mop-up duty this season, Zappe is 2-of-2 for 33 yards targeting Parker and 2-of-3 for 15 yards targeting Henry. However, he’s just 1-of-5 targeting Demario Douglas, 1-of-3 targeting Mike Gesicki, and 0-for-2 targeting JuJu Smith-Schuster.
However, sometimes chemistry is just different from player-to-player, and in this case, a change might see more production from guys who weren’t necessarily on the same page with Mac Jones to this point of the season.
Either way, at 2-8, we’re into the part of the season where New England needs to start gathering information, and that includes the quarterback position. Regardless of how things ultimately play out, changes are likely coming heading into the future, and now New England will need to decide who might also factor into their depth chart.
Whether or not it’s Zappe or Will Grier remains to be seen, but reports before the bye seem to indicate some within the locker room are open to someone else other than Jones lining up out there on Sunday.
After what’s already been a long season, the coming weeks will be interesting to watch. For a team with so many question marks, they need to start at least learning more about who they’ll want to move forward with beyond this year.
Hopefully, we’ll find out if the quarterback position falls into that category based on what they decide to do this weekend.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary