Dan Orlovsky Critical Of Patriots Different Play-Calling For Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe

Mac Jones spent the first two drives vs. the Bears in shotgun


Oct 26, 2022

With the New England Patriots dealing with a quarterback controversy, there’s been speculation the coaching staff has tried to set Bailey Zappe up for more success in terms of play-calling than Mac Jones.

Former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky added to that narrative Wednesday.

Orlovsky took exception to the Patriots basically running two separate offenses depending on if Jones or Zappe were on the field. In an embarrassing 33-14 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday, New England put Jones back in the shotgun for every official play on the first two series of the game, both of which resulted in three-and-outs.

But after Zappe replaced Jones following an ugly second-quarter interception that brought on some controversy, the Patriots found a great deal of success with Zappe going under center and throwing a 30-year touchdown pass off play-action to Jakobi Meyers. New England set things up similarly on a 43-yard pass down the sideline to DeVante Parker on the next drive with Zappe beginning under center and faking a handoff to Rhamondre Stevenson.

The difference certainly is striking, prompting Orlovsky to call out the Patriots to keep the offense the same now that Jones reportedly will start Sunday on the road against the New York Jets.

“I will challenge the Patriots: run the same offense that you’ve run with Bailey Zappe for Mac Jones,” Orlovsky said, in audio tweeted out by The Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard. “You put Mac Jones under the center once in the first quarter. He ran one play-action pass all game. What has made your offense better over the past three weeks with Bailey Zappe is you have put him under center, you have lived in play-action, you have dominated on the ground and you have max protected. Don’t change, just because Mac Jones is in there. That’s my challenge to them now that he’s your starting quarterback.”

There is credence to Orlovsky’s argument. According to NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry, the Patriots had Jones under center on just 18% of 11 official first-quarter snaps in the loss to the Bears. Perry points out how different that is compared to the week prior when Zappe was under center for 56% of 16 official first-quarter snaps against the Cleveland Browns.

There definitely seem to be two offensive philosophies going on, and it’s logical to believe Jones would be able to replicate the success he had last year if he was given the chance to run more play-action from under center.

“Run what’s best for the offense as a whole not just the QB,” Orlovsky said in a follow-up tweet.

It will be interesting to see if anything changes in the offense play-calling Sunday with the Patriots and Jets kicking off from MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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