Bailey Zappe discovered “at the same time as you” that Mac Jones was starting


Patriots QB Bailey Zappe found out ‘at the same time you did’ that Mac Jones was starting

Patriots QB Bailey Zappe completes a touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers against the Chicago Bears. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Bailey Zappe deferred to Bill Belichick for most of the questions posed to him Monday, following the Patriots’ 33-14 loss to the Bears.

When he entered the game in dramatic fashion after Mac Jones’ early struggles, did he expect to play the rest of the way?

“It’s something that’s for Coach Belichick,” Zappe said. “My job was to go out there and get the ball back to my playmakers. I need to do a better job of that next week.

What was his understanding of his role this week?

“Yeah, I think it’s something, you know, for Coach Belichick,” Zappe said. “I prepared this week like I do every other week. I prepared as if I was going to play or not.

The only thing Zappe finally admitted? That he discovered that Mac Jones officially started “around the same time as you.”. If it’s true, he found out shortly before 6 p.m. – just over two hours before kick-off.

It’s worth noting that when another reporter asked if he’s taken reps with the starting unit in the past week — and if reps with the starting unit are needed — Zappe started saying that was a question for Belichick, but stopped short.

“Let’s move on to the Jets, actually,” he corrected himself. “So get ready for them.”

Zappe’s magic run finally hit its first speed bump on Monday, and it was a clash of teeth. Zappe entered the match after Jones struggled badly in the first half, with chants of “Zap-pe! Zap-pe!” sounded around the stadium. The rookie immediately led a pair of touchdowns, including one capped off by a 30-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers (Jones, to his credit, enthusiastically congratulated Zappe after both touchdowns).

But the wheels also came off for Zappe. He finished 14 for 22 as a passer with his lone touchdown pass and a pair of late interceptions that officially sealed the deal for the Bears.

“I have to do a better job of getting around defenders, finding ways to get it to receivers,” Zappe said. “Of course, that’s something else I’m still working on. So I just have to find ways better, get around defenders, get past them, get around them, whatever.

Zappe might not get a chance to work on his passing lanes next week. Jones should be back in the lineup when the Patriots face the Jets at MetLife Stadium, and Bill Belichick insisted he would have sent Jones back into the game on Monday in the second half if the score hadn’t gotten out of control.

Still, Zappe said he tries to get the most out of training no matter the situation. This week, that could mean mental rehearsals.

“You do mental rehearsals every time you’re not there,” he said. “It’s another way to prepare throughout the week. Not everything is physical. So whenever you’re not standing behind quarterbacks doing mental reps, that’s another way to do it throughout the week.


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