FOXBORO, Mass. — Bailey Zappe was thrown into the fire during Week 4 at Lambeau Field, but now having returned to the confines of Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots rookie quarterback has been able to have more conversations with the teammates he impressed.
Perhaps the most important has been with Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones, who missed Week 4 with a high ankle sprain. Second-stringer Brian Hoyer exited Sunday’s 27-24 defeat with a head injury, thus prompting Zappe to make his NFL debut.
“They’ve been good,” Zappe said of his conversations with Jones while speaking with the media Wednesday. “He’s been very helpful. Same for me, I’ve been trying to do everything I can to help him out with everything going on. We’re just trying to be the best for the team.”
Jones, of course, doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of institutional knowledge to share. After all, the 2021 first-round pick has played just one season with the Patriots and is less than a year older than Zappe. Nevertheless, Jones’ impressive rookie season in which he finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting gives him a leg to stand on, and Zappe is appreciative of the feedback.
Patriots captain and center David Andrews is another the 2022 fourth-rounder has been gleaning advice from.
“Yeah, I mean, of course relationships in football, it’s a team sport. Your relationships are always important with everybody. A quarterback and center, it’s forever known that relationship is really important,” Zappe said. “And to be able to talk to him (Andrews), pick his brain, because he’s been in the league a lot longer than I have, for sure. So kind of pick his brain and kind of see it the way he’s seeing it. So pick his brain, Mac’s brain, Garrett Gilbert’s, everybody’s brain and just kind of learn.”
Gilbert, a veteran quarterback who’s been with the Patriots prior, was added to New England’s practice squad this week given the injuries to Jones and Hoyer.
Zappe was more than serviceable in his first career start despite the pressure of it coming with Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers on the opposing sideline. He completed 66% of his passes (10-for-15) for 99 yards and one touchdown to DeVante Parker. It was a performance which impressed his veteran teammates given his poise, and should Zappe be granted the starting spot Sunday in Week 5, he’ll look to lean on those same teammates in hopes of success.
“Yeah, I’m sure there will be a little bit more comfortability with it, but like I said, I’m going to lean on my teammates a lot. They helped me a lot against the Packers and I’m going to lean on them even more this upcoming game or whenever it is,” Zappe said. “I’m really excited for just going to practice every day and get better.”
Jones, who was seen during the media portion of practice Wednesday, is unlikely to play Sunday, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. Meanwhile, Hoyer was not seen during the media portion of the practice session as he continues to recover from a head injury. Despite the likelihood the Patriots are going to roll with their third-string quarterback, New England remains a three-point home favorite against the Lions.