Bailey Zappe Breaks Silence on Patriots QB Competition With Mac Jones

Bailey Zappe

Getty Bailey Zappe could vie for the starting quarterback job in 2023.

New England Patriots backup quarterback Bailey Zappe anticipates a shot at unseating Mac Jones for the starting quarterback job this year.

“If my opportunity presents itself, like I’ve been saying, I’m going to take full advantage of it,” Zappe told Joe Kayata of WJAR TV. “I’m going to do everything I can to help the team win. That’s really all I can say from that standpoint. That’s coach [Bill] Belichick’s decision, whatever he decides.”

“But if the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to be ready and take advantage of it,” Zappe added.

Belichick alluded to a quarterback competition during the NFL annual meeting in March. Zappe previously stepped up in place of Jones due to injury last season for two starts and impressed.

“Everybody’ll get a chance to play,” Belichick told reporters on March 27. “We’ll play the best players.”

Zappe threw for 781 yards and  five touchdowns versus three interceptions last season. He completed 70.7% of his passes, and posted a 100.9 passer rating. The Patriots went 2-0 with him as a starter, which sparked a quarterback controversy between him and Jones.

Jones Regressed in 2022

Things didn’t improve for Jones during the season in year two out of Alabama.

Jones threw for 2,997 yards and 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions. He completed 65.2% of his passes and posted an 84.8 passer rating. His record of 6-8 as a starter also left things to be desired.

Jones regressed in every major category for 2022 after a stellar rookie season in 2021 when the Patriots made him the No. 15 pick in the NFL Draft. He went 10-7 with 3,801 yards for 22 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions as he led the Patriots to the playoffs that year. He also completed 67.6% of his passes and posted a 92.5 passer rating in 2021.

“As a team, we didn’t perform very well last year, so we all need to do a better job. That’s all of us,” Belichick told reporters at the NFL meeting.

“We talked to all the players individually about the things that they can do, the things that we can do and so forth,” Belichick added regarding individual players such as Jones. “I’ll keep that between myself and the individual players.”

Belichick also deflected a question about Jones’ sideline outburst in a December 2022 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“We’re looking ahead to 2023 here. I’m not going to go back and rehash ’22. I think we all can improve — all of us, starting with me and every other player and coach,” Belichick said.

Zappe Shares Thoughts on New Offensive Coordinator

New England made one change already to bolster the offense with the addition of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who coached at Alabama after Jones’ time with the Crimson Tide. O’Brien takes over for former Patriots offensive assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who filled in last season after Josh McDaniels’ departure to the Las Vegas Raiders.

“I’m really excited just to learn with all the knowledge he has for the quarterback position,” Zappe told the Pawtucket Times. “And not just the position itself, but from a defensive standpoint, as well, how he sees the defense. I’m really excited about this year with some of the new guys we got on the team as well, and just ready to get after it.”