Patriots Rookie QB Bailey Zappe Off To Rough Start In Training Camp

It hasn't been good for the fourth-rounder

by

July 28

FOXBORO, MASS. — There never was any chance of Bailey Zappe supplanting Mac Jones as the starting quarterback for the Patriots. But, after New England used a fourth-round pick on the Western Kentucky product, there was at least some hope that Zappe could earn the top backup job by the end of the summer.

Well, that hope is quickly eroding.

Zappe wasn’t particularly impressive during spring practices, and he’s been even worse through two training camp sessions. Splitting time with Brian Hoyer as the quarterback of the second-team offense, Zappe has been both erratic and inaccurate. Overthrows have been commonplace for the 23-year-old.

Zappe didn’t take a snap in 11-on-11s during Wednesday’s camp opener but went 2-for-4 during 7-on-7s — and both incompletions were ugly. He got more work Thursday, with the Patriots going from Jones straight to Zappe during team drills, but the 6-foot quarterback struggled again.

According to our stat sheet, Zappe went 6-for-10 during 7-on-7s and 2-for-7 in 11-on-11s. It’s worth noting that the entire Patriots passing attack struggled at the end of Thursday’s practice, with Jones and Hoyer combing for 10 straight incompletions at one point.

New England focused on red-zone situations during competitive drills in the first two practices. We’ll see if that changes Friday.

Obviously, we shouldn’t make fun of Zappe’s struggles. He’s a rookie fourth-rounder who still is getting his feet wet in the NFL. Time will tell whether he’s a viable NFL quarterback, but Zappe’s college film indicates he has the skill set — and, especially, intangibles — to succeed in the pros. Plus, he has shown good velocity on his passes since arriving in New England.

But the Patriots’ top backup QB this season? That’s looking like a long shot.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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