Jakobi Meyers Proud Of Mac Jones, Won’t Forget Bailey Zappe Chants

'He just showed who he was as a person'


Jan 9, 2023

FOXBORO, Mass. — The chants for Bailey Zappe that rang through Gillette Stadium during the Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears did not sit well with Mac Jones’ favorite target.

And Jakobi Meyers still hasn’t forgotten them.

Asked during the Patriots’ locker cleanout what he learned about Jones in their second season together, Meyers again referenced thousands of New England fans calling for the quarterback’s backup. The wide receiver reiterated how proud he was of Jones for the way he handled that impossible situation.

“Not anything I necessarily learned, but just things he continued to prove,” Meyers said Monday, one day after the Patriots’ season ended with a 35-23 loss in Buffalo. “He just showed who he was as a person, honestly, not even just a football player.

“I know one of my memories from the year is just seeing him out there playing while you hear other people chanting another quarterback’s name. That’s something tough to deal with, but he didn’t really complain. He strapped his chin strap up the next play and went back to work. So I’m proud of him.”

Scattered “Zap-pe, Zap-pe” chants could be heard at nearly every Patriots home game after Jones’ Week 3 high ankle sprain, but they reached maximum volume that night against Chicago. Head coach Bill Belichick started Jones against the Bears following a three-game absence but pulled him for Zappe in the second quarter

The fourth-round rookie, who played well while Jones was rehabbing, immediately ignited the Patriots’ offense with back-to-back touchdown drives, then lost all momentum as Chicago cruised to a 33-14 win at Gillette Stadium.

A clearly miffed Meyers sounded off after the game, saying he was surprised Jones was benched and calling the entire night an “ugly situation.”

“Not even as a football player, it’s tough as a man to see somebody who worked so hard get that kind of treatment,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we’re all trying to feed our families, so we’ve got to go out there and make plays for whoever’s throwing it.”

Weeks later, Meyers praised Jones for his “resiliency” after the chants resurfaced during an uneven loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

“That ain’t the first time that it’s happened this year, honestly,” the receiver said. “He dealt with it all year. Just guys ready to just pass it to the next guy. But he just keeps going on there battling. He takes shots, gets back up. He makes mistakes, he comes back and tries to fix it.

“Shoutout to Mac, man. He’s a tough guy mentally and physically. I can roll with him any day.”

After his benching against Chicago, Jones played every offensive snap for the rest of the season, turning in some of his best performances down the stretch as the Patriots made an ultimately fruitless push for a playoff spot. Meyers battled through multiple injuries to lead New England in receiving yards for the third consecutive year.

The wideout is set to hit free agency in March, leaving his Patriots future in limbo. Meyers said he “definitely” wants to re-sign, and Jones advocated for the team to bring him back.

“Jakobi’s one of the best — if not the best — teammates I’ve ever had,” the QB said after Sunday’s loss to the Bills. “He’s a great person. He comes to work every day, doesn’t complain, does everything right. He deserves everything that’s coming his way. So hopefully, it’s with us. Yeah, he means a lot to me.”

Jones said he was unsatisfied with the progress he made this season, which was a step back from his promising rookie campaign in 2021. Belichick left the door open Monday for a potential QB competition, saying Jones “has the ability to play quarterback in this league” but declining to commit to him as the Patriots’ 2023 starter.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
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