While the NFL world prepared for the Super Bowl, two young Patriots players took the time to get some practice in.
New England 2022 draftees Bailey Zappe and Tyquan Thornton had their moments in their rookie seasons, but it’s clear after Saturday the two want more.
The 23-year-old quarterback posted on his Instagram story a clip of him throwing a pass to the second-round wide receiver. It appears the pair were at the Patriots practice facility based on Thornton’s Instagram story of him driving to Gillette Stadium. The 22-year-old added the caption “dreams to reality” on his social media post.
Zappe played in four games in relief for Mac Jones, who dealt with an ankle injury during the season, and Brian Hoyer, who suffered a head injury in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers.
The fourth-round QB started two games and led the Patriots to wins in those contests, which led to fan tension over who should be the starter. The signal-caller didn’t play after his Week 7 outing against the Chicago Bears and finished the season with 781 yards and five touchdowns on a 70.7% completion percentage.
Thornton was a highly touted prospect based on his electric speed at the NFL Combine. He flashed his talent during moments of the season, but he was stuck competing for targets in a crowded receiver room. Injuries also didn’t help the receiver, as well. However, it did appear Thornton and Jones developed a stronger rapport during the season.
The Patriots hired Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator to help guide the offense back on track, and while Jones will be the presumed starter in his third season, it looks like Zappe will try to make it a competition during the offseason.
New England has multiple options in the offseason when it comes to wide receiver, but Bill Belichick and the coaching staff should be encouraged Thornton is looking to improve in his second season.