Patriots Fans React to Reported Starting QB Decision

Getty New England Patriots, Bill Belichick

All signs point to Bill Belichick starting Bailey Zappe on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson says a source has indicated Zappe will get his second straight start while Mac Jones continues to recover from a high-ankle sprain suffered in a Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

While the New England Patriots haven’t made the news official, and knowing Belichick, that might not happen until five minutes before kickoff, a roster move suggests Wilson’s report is true.

The Patriots elevated practice squad quarterback Garrett Gilbert on Saturday, as he was before last week’s 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions. Gilbert was signed on October 4 to add some emergency depth at the quarterback position with Jones still hobbled and Brian Hoyer on injured reserve recovering from a concussion he suffered in the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Gilbert was elevated in time for the game against the Lions as he joined Zappe as the only other active quarterback on the roster. Seeing him elevated again suggests he could be in the same situation ahead of Sunday’s game against the Browns.

Several Patriots fans took to Twitter to react to the report.

The Fan Prognosis For Another Zappe Start is Mixed

The Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels tweeted the same conclusion about Zappe starting based on Gilbert’s elevation.

Some fans aren’t quite in Zappe’s corner.

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Offering a direct answer to Daniels’ assumption, one fan predicts Gilbert’s elevation and Zappe starting will lead to “a L.

Another fan used a Jim Carrey GIF to express an undecided nature.

No, but maybe that’s not such a bad idea, was the fan’s sentiment.

Another fan was fully onboard with another round of “Zappe Hour.

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In Week 4, Zappe didn’t light up the scoreboard in the team’s win over the Lions. He got a lot of help from a defense that pitched a shutout and a gameplan on that side of the ball that had Lions quarterback Jared Goff running for his life all afternoon.

The Patriots’ offensive line and running game, led by Rhamondre Stevenson (25 carries for 161 yards), was the most dominant aspect of New England’s attack. However, Zappe played well, especially considering it was his first NFL start.

The rookie the Patriots selected in the fourth round back in April’s 2022 NFL Draft completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards and a TD. His lone interception was the fault of shaky hand receiver Nelson Agholor.

The veteran receiver continued his ball security issues as he bobbled an accurately thrown pass into the Lions defender’s hands, causing the turnover. He has two fumbles lost this season as well.

If he can build on that performance, the Patriots could be in a good position to generate their first win streak of the season.

Not So Fast…Maybe Mac Will Be Back

Just because Gilbert is elevated doesn’t mean he’ll be active for Sunday’s game. Hours ahead of the game, Belichick will have to decide on whether to activate Jones or Gilbert.

If he believes Jones is healthy enough to play, he could activate him and leave Gilbert inactive. Jones would likely get the start if that happens, and Zappe would be his backup.

Jones might have a shorter leash in this situation, considering he probably won’t be 100 percent. Zappe has not only prepared to start if needed but has also proven capable of leading the team to a win.

There is also a chance Jones could be active, but Belichick still elects to start Zappe. Jones, at 85 percent, is still likely a better backup option than Gilbert. In this scenario, it would be Zappe on a shorter leash while Jones would be in a relief role if the rookie struggles.

Things could get interesting around and during the game, and Patriots Nation will be locked in.

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