Patriots Source Tells Insider Harsh Truth Behind Unexpected QB Cut: ‘He Stunk’

Bailey Zappe of the Patriots

Getty Bailey Zappe of the Patriots

It is no secret that the Patriots were less than impressed with the play of Bailey Zappe, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2022, over the course of this preseason. Zappe was 2-0 as a starter last season, and posted a much better rating (100.9) than usual starter Mac Jones (84.8), leading some to hope that Zappe might wrest the job from Jones this summer.

Didn’t happen. In fact, the Patriots surprised many around the NFL when they did not include Zappe on the initial 53-man roster. Zappe cleared waivers and was put onto the practice squad.

One team insider—Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald—noted on his podcast that a team source had a particularly harsh review of Zappe’s showing at training camp.

“I’ll just share what I heard from someone within the team which was two words. Quote, ‘He stunk’. And that covered training camp. It covered the preseason,” said Callahan. “We can go into the numbers in a second but the things that you heard were pretty similar.”


Bailey Zappe Did Not Pick Up New Patriots’ Offense

The numbers were these: In three games, including two starts, Zappe completed 30 passes on 51 attempts, just 58.8% all together, and averaged only 5.0 yards per pass. He threw one touchdown and had no interceptions, taking six sacks in those games. His rating was 78.3.

Doug Kyed, also of the Herald, said he’d heard similar things about Zappe’s play this summer. New offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is installing his offense, Kyed said, and Zappe just was not fitting with it.

“Yeah, and that’s just the performance wasn’t good enough,” said Kyed. “That he wasn’t picking up the offense fast enough. That he wasn’t a good enough fit for what Bill O’Brien wanted to do, and it’s essentially just what I heard from multiple people was that it wasn’t good enough.

“If I had heard a week ago that Bailey wasn’t good enough, would I have expected them to cut him? Probably still not because there was no safety net there in case something happens with Mac Jones.”


Is Matt Corral the Answer?

It remains unclear exactly how the Patriots will address quarterback depth. The team’s depth chart has only Jones on the list, with Zappe and fellow training-camp cut Malik Cunningham on the practice squad. New England picked up 2022 third-round pick Matt Corral, who missed all of last year with a foot injury, from the Lions on Thursday.

Corral could wind up being Jones’ backup, though other reports have indicated the team wanted a veteran to fill that role. Corral, Zappe and Cunningham have only two starts among them.

The situation looks to be a mess, but Kyed gave coach Bill Belichick praise for how he handled Zappe’s situation, pointing out that cutting him sent a clear message to the rest of the team.

“I think to some degree you have to give Bill Belichcik credit for saying, ‘All right, you haven’t been good enough, you don’t deserve to make this 53-man roster’,” Kyed said. “You might be a quarterback, e might need you. But we want to set a precedent here for players who are good enough to make the team, and you’re not one of them.”

 

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