Why is there such an infatuation with Patriots rookie Bailey Zappe?



Fans love the underdog. They also like to learn about the unknown.

Welcome to Bailey Zappe Fever.

The rookie quarterback whetted everyone’s appetite with his relief performance against the Packers last week, and now people are dying to see more.

Backup quarterbacks tend to be popular, and Zappé is getting his 15 minutes of fame in Foxboro. But let’s lift the brakes a bit.

Turns out, if he is, he might be more than just a good backup. Now, he’s a young quarterback with a chance. He’s still a mystery, a shiny new toy fresh out of the box. That’s all good. But let’s not make it more than that.

This was part of the appeal of Mack Jones last year. The exception was a first-round draft pick who was expected to be a good one. And he delivered the best rookie season of all.

Zappe was taken in the fourth round. That’s what the underdog is all about, including the chance to do the unexpected and become a star.

But let’s see him do it first, see how he plays with the Lions and maybe even more before we anoint him.

Listening to sports talk radio, there is a legion of fans who want Zapp to be the go-to guy.

The Patriots aren’t there yet. In fact, it’s not even close. And chances are they’ll never be at that point.

While Zappé’s poise and composure in Green Bay is admirable, there is more to playing the position. So there are more questions than answers with this kid.

What do we know now?

It was nice to be completely led by Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge after coming in relief against the Packers. He wasn’t shocked at the time, or the situation he was in. That’s a good starting point for the beginner. But let’s see where he goes from here with what he did in Green Bay beyond just getting the ball and making basic plays.

To be clear, he is not number 1. That’s Jones. If anything, he’s pushing to be No. 2 with Brian Hoyer on IR now and out for at least four weeks. It’s Zappe’s reality these days.

If Jones is healthy enough, he’s the starter. time.

This week, Jones has been pushing the limits again and doing his best to try and play, a source said. Whether Belichick gets to the point where he’ll let him play with the Lions is another matter.

Sitting at 1-3, it’s a very important game for the Patriots in the big picture scheme. That’s why Jones is pushing the envelope. That’s why the Patriots listed him as “questionable” on the May 7 injury report, leaving the door open.

Jones, like most football players, is tough. Tom Brady has never missed a game except when he tore his ACL. He played through broken ribs, a torn AC joint, a torn MCL, sprained fingers, a large gash in his throwing hand that required over 10 stitches, and yes, a high ankle sprain.

But Brady is different. Most players need at least four weeks before they can consider playing with a high ankle sprain.

While Jones looked better in a brief media viewing window from Wednesday, he still had a noticeable handicap. Therefore, although the Patriots are not out of the game on May 7, it remains a long journey to play.

A report on Friday had Zapp starting against the Lions. That’s how it should be. As long as Jones can’t move to avoid the rush, there’s no point in playing him. He will be a sitting duck in the pocket and may cause further damage to the ankle or other parts of the body.

This is the risk that the team must weigh. What good does it do if he comes back early with an unstable ankle and suffers more injury and is done for the season?

The hope here is that common sense will prevail, which seems to be the course of action. Jones’ job now is to get healthy and take his place at the helm.

Beyond that, there is speculation that Zappé’s arrival may have pushed or inspired Jones, who hasn’t gotten off to a very successful start.

Maybe there’s something to that, but Jones seems like a pretty motivated guy in his own right. Maybe he doesn’t need the pressure.

Still, it will be interesting to see Zappé as the man in the middle for the Lions.

Of course, the Zappe variable makes it all a little more interesting.

In the absence of Dallas Cooper Rush Dak Prescott with a thumb injury, he won three games. Now there are choices for fans to watch as to whether or not Prescott should keep the starting job or if “Cooper Clutch” continues to lead the Cowboys.

Former NFL walk-on player Jim Miller, who was Brady’s backup to Rohan Davey in 2004, certainly understands the fans’ zapping noise.

“When I was in Jacksonville with Mark Brunell, everybody wanted Rob Johnson (to play). The only place I’ve been in where they didn’t want the backup was New England,” said Miller Creek, who was a backup for eight different NFL teams in his career. “Then Neal O’Donnell took the shot when I was in Pittsburgh. Turning the page there.” I think it happens in many cities where the position is not strengthened.

Miller added: “But I think it’s solidified in New England. Once McJones is healthy, he will play. It’s just about keeping him healthy.”

If Zappé performs well against the Lions on Sunday, assuming he starts and helps secure a win, his appeal will grow.

But the main work still belongs to Jones. Make no mistake about it.

“Mac is the guy. There’s no question about it,” Miller said. “Bill knows that.” That coaching staff knows it, the whole team knows it.

For what it’s worth, Miller was at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, earlier in the year, and watched Zapp play. He was impressed with the Western Kentucky quarterback.

“I like Zapp, I’ll say that. I thought he was a great player off the bench. He impressed me in the Senior Bowl and I think that’s why Bill took a flyer on him,” Miller said. I thought he handled the situation.

When Miller watched Zapp on mobile, he came on in the fourth quarter and performed well.

Zappé ran the Air Raid offense at Western Kentucky and caught 62 touchdown passes with 5,967 passing yards in his final year. He was 8-13 passing for a career-high 103 yards in the Senior Bowl.

“That’s what he does, he motivates a team,” Miller said. “I think his role, coming off the bench like that, is perfect to make his mark. Because men believe in him. It gives your team an energy level and spark.

Still, Zappé wasn’t one of the most overrated quarterbacks entering the draft. Some thought the Patriots overdrafted him in the fourth round.

But that didn’t dampen his level of love for his son. It remains to be seen if that level will rise or if Zappe will come back down to earth.

Pats vs. elite QBs

Losing back-to-back games from Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers served as further evidence that the Patriots haven’t been able to win better quarterbacks since Brady.

Jackson and Rodgers are the latest in a long line of quarterbacks to beat the Pats.

As of the start of the 2020 season, the Patriots are winless overall with other studs including KC’s Patrick Mahomes, Dallas’ Dak Prescott, Denver’s Russell Wilson, Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady.

Buffalo star Josh Allen went 4-1 at the same time, with his only loss coming in the rain in Buffalo.

The Patriots were fortunate to go with Chargers stud Justin Herbert with two wins, but that’s about it, going 4-11 overall against the best under center, counting the losses to Jackson and Rodgers.

Part of the Patriots’ struggle is that they don’t have an elite quarterback themselves to get results.

It wasn’t that much of a problem when Brady lived in Foxboro.

Sauce wants Tyreek

The Jets’ secondary is set to get its first crack at trying to contain the Dolphins’ dynamic duo of Tyreke Hill and Jaylen Waddle when Miami heads to the Meadowlands. Rookie cornerback Sous Gardner, who played well for the Jets, is looking forward to competing against the Dolphins at receiver.

“It’s a big challenge,” Gardner said, via the New York Daily News. “It’s a great opportunity for the secondary to see why we are and why we’re one of the best in the NFL. I’m looking forward to it and I know the rest of my guys are.”

In the first four games, Gardner, the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, lined up with Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Browns receiver Amari Cooper, Steelers receiver Deonta Johnson and Ravens tight end Mark Andrews.

Gardner seems to have his eyes set on Hill’s 477 receiving yards, but Hill has been on the report this week with a quad injury. The Dolphins had “hope” their star could play.

“Some of my goals line up with me going up against good guys like Tyreek Hill and other receivers,” Gardner said.

Barring an injury to starter Tua Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater will be testing Gardner and the Jets’ secondary.

Is Jack Jones so talented?

Speaking of cornerbacks with perspective, Patriots Hall of Famer Ty Law criticized Patriots starter Jack Jones for swinging a little too much following the loss at Green Bay.

Jones had a great game last week against the Packers with a forced fumble and fumble recovery against Aaron Rodgers’ pick six. However, all was not well as Jones missed some shots.

Asked about Rodgers’ selection after the game, Jones told reporters: “Personally, it feels like a disrespect to throw a way out of me.

Law, who lacked confidence while playing, expressed his frustration during an appearance on “The Greg Hill Show” on WEI.

“You’re going to play a couple, you’re going to be in the mix, but you’ve got to be a little more aggressive to say something like that, and you’ve got to go out there and make some plays,” Lowe said. “I don’t think anyone in that secondary, especially a rookie, would say something like that. You’re not doing enough theatrics to say something like that. shut up.”

Jones was asked at the locker room Wednesday if her comments landed her in hot water.

“No, not really,” Jones said. “I mean, I keep stacking up week-to-week. That’s all I can do, just play my role, do my job and play hard,” he said.

And that probably includes making sure teams don’t complete any exit routes on him.

“Yeah, sure,” Jones replied with a smile.

Jones also said that changing his identity was difficult for him. His belief in his abilities and his belief in himself are part of the package. He was always like that.

“I don’t know what it is. “Sometimes I ask myself why I’m the way I am,” Jones told the Herald last month. “I don’t have an answer. I am who I am.”

Mostly, the teammates get a kick out of the brag ball.

When asked if he’s ever had a kookier cornerback than his rookie, Jonathan Jones laughed.

“Yeah, he’s confident,” said the veteran. “As a cornerback, you want that. You need that.

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