March 4, 2024

Patriots

The Patriots are 2-2 this season with Bailey Zappe because the staff’s beginning QB.

Mac Jones misplaced New England’s QB1 place after a 2-9 begin this season. (AP Photograph/Geneva Heffernan)

It stays to be seen if Bailey Zappe is a viable QB1 choice for the Patriots in 2024 and past.

But it surely’s onerous to disregard how New England’s listless offense lastly began to point out some indicators of life after the second-year QB took the reins in early December.

After beginning the 12 months 2-9 with Mac Jones underneath middle, New England opted to make a swap at QB beginning in Week 13, with Zappe leapfrogging Jones on the depth chart.Since then, New England has gone 2-2 throughout Zappe’s 4 video games as a starter.

And whereas New England’s playoff hopes have been dashed weeks prior, the case might be made that the Patriots’ fortunes might need shifted had the staff turned to Zappe earlier this 12 months.

Invoice Belichick and the Patriots opted to offer Mac Jones an extended leash this season earlier than lastly deciding to bench him for Zappe. However did New England’s roster wave the white flag on the previous first-round decide earlier than the coaches determined to lastly pull the plug?

Sports activities Illustrated’s Albert Breer speculated about such a situation throughout his newest NFL pocket book posted on Tuesday.  

“The Patriots most definitely haven’t give up on Invoice Belichick. However given the way in which Bailey Zappe has sparked the offense, it’s definitely honest to wonder if the gamers had given up on Mac Jones,” Breer wrote. “Jones’ string of bleep-ups in video games coincided with comparable performs exhibiting up in observe. 

“And whereas Zappe’s no world-beater, the gamers not less than know what to anticipate when he’s in there. It actually confirmed in Sunday evening’s win in Denver, notably on the third-and-3, back-shoulder throw to DeVante Parker that put the Patriots’ game-winning drive in movement with lower than a minute left.”

Regardless that Jones’ struggles in 2023 (10 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) have loomed massive over a woeful season in Foxborough, there’s a legitimate argument that a lot of the blame for this 12 months’s letdown falls on Belichick and the Patriots’ teaching employees.

Regardless of opening his NFL profession with a Professional Bowl marketing campaign in 2021, Jones has considerably regressed over the past two seasons — with a training carousel on Belichick’s employees and a reluctance to speculate closely in weapons on offense hampering Jones’ improvement.

Talking on his “4th & 1” present earlier this week, Cam Newton made the case that NFL entrance workplace ought to draw extra scrutiny when a younger quarterback struggles underneath their watch.

“When guys actually begin feeling themselves and say, ‘I belong right here,’ that’s the place they get higher,” Newton said. “For each quarterback that we’ve felt or seen come into their very own proper earlier than our eyes, there’s different quarterbacks that we’ve seen shrink due to unhealthy improvement, unhealthy teaching, unhealthy administration. They by no means really feel like they belong.”

Newton added: “Once I see this, (it’s) an ideal state of affairs the place I’m saying (to) begin holding these entrance workplace individuals accountable to creating these gamers the best manner.”