Bailey Zappe may have played QB1 for the New England Patriots. As hard as it may be for me, a die-hard Mac Jones fan, to admit it, the Western Kentucky rookie’s performance in his first two NFL games has been outstanding.
Given this franchise’s recent history, the potential for a starting battle between an injured starter and a young, under-the-radar QB drafted in a late round riles Pats fans.
First, Zappe took on defending MVP Aaron Rodgers and nearly pulled off a major upset against Green Bay, then led the Patriots offense to a shutout win over the Lions.
Compare that to the three games Mac Jones has started this season, where they were overwhelmed by Miami and Baltimore and barely picked up a win against Pittsburgh, arguably the worst team in the NFL right now.
Do the New England Patriots have another Brady/Bledsoe type controversy on our hands?
We all know you can’t pin wins and losses directly on the QB, but Zappe has a better stat resume this season than Mac, albeit with a smaller sample size.
Jones’ 76.2 QB rating ranks 29th in the NFL – just above Mitch Trubisky, Justin Fields and Baker Mayfield. In Zappe’s two games, he hit a 104.7 rating, which would put him 5th on the starting QB list between Josh Allen and Justin Herbert (again, with the caveat that he didn’t only played in two games).
In Jones’ three games, he threw five interceptions (9th most in the NFL) against two touchdowns (31st in the NFL). In Zappe’s two games, he’s already tied Jones with two thrown touchdowns while only managing to throw one interception.
These Zappe stats paint a pretty rosy picture of its performance, but that probably doesn’t mean it’s taking the job of Mac.
The only reason Pats fans have this argument is because of the Drew Bledsoe/Tom Brady elephant in the room. If this were another NFL franchise, that kind of debate probably wouldn’t be happening.
New England Patriots quarterback job is Mac Jones up for grabs
Yes, Mac Jones had a rather disappointing start to the season compared to the previous year. And given all the hype surrounding him during the offseason, where Mac had supposedly leveled up as a leader and was “in the best shape of his life,” you’d expect the opposite.
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But does this poor performance give Belichick enough reason to pull the job from Mac? Probably not.
As fun as those two Zappe games were when Mac is healthy again, it will likely return to the bench.
But who knows, maybe Zappe has that dog in him and can challenge Mac for the starting job. If Mac misses more games and Zappe continues to gain more experience, then perhaps a broader discussion is warranted.
It’s also worth considering how it affects Mac development, assuming it reclaims its original role. The ankle injury, missed games and potential quarterback battle that comes with it will definitely affect his growth negatively. That, coupled with the ongoing conflicts due to changing callers in the offseason, is a lot for Mac to deal with in its second season.
But if Zappe takes the QB1 spot, what should I do with the two Mac Jones jerseys I bought? Can the suspicious eBay store where I bought them exchange them for a Zappe shirt?