From Mac Jones To Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots Are Out Of Moves

0
28

What was a mystery entering the bye week remained a mystery exiting the bye week.

It is largely beside the point now for the 2-9 New England Patriots. The starting quarterback moving forward in 2023 isn’t going to be the starting quarterback moving forward in 2024.

Mac Jones lasted one half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The former No. 15 overall pick out of Alabama completed 12-of-21 passes for 89 yards to go with his 11th and 12th interceptions of the season.

The first turnover arrived in triple coverage down the left sideline for cornerback Deonte Banks. The second turnover arrived under unblocked pressure for linebacker Bobby Okereke to snap a 12-play, 69-yard drive. It was more of the same.

“Just bad quarterback play,” Jones told reporters during his postgame press conference. “It wasn’t good enough by me. If the quarterback doesn’t play well, you got no chance.”

Jones, 25, had been benched in October games that were out of reach versus the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. He was then pulled with 1:52 to go in a 10-6 game versus the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany, following a back-foot underthrow at the doorstep of the end zone.

The team captain has completed 64.9% of his passes this fall. Ten touchdowns have been among them. Three fumbles, including one that his side recovered in East Rutherford, have also been. The rookie campaign that brought recognition as a Pro Bowl alternate is distant. The spring’s clean slate under offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is, too.

The 10-7 loss reached its end with Bailey Zappe at quarterback.

The sophomore backup from Houston Baptist and Western Kentucky split first-team practice reps last week. He stepped in to begin the third quarter as the Patriots traveled 60 yards in 11 plays en route to a touchdown by running back Rhamondre Stevenson. The change brought a spark to an offense averaging 13.5 points per game.

But the passing game stayed quick and close to the line of scrimmage. Instead of checking down to the flat when it didn’t, Zappe telegraphed an over route that awaiting safety Xavier McKinney intercepted. A field goal followed to give the Giants the lead midway through the fourth quarter.

“I think that just comes down to me doing my job,” Zappe, who cleared waivers at the 53-man roster deadline in August, said at the podium on Sunday. “Incompletions, turnovers, that’s just — it comes down to the quarterback and I take that. That’s on me in the second half. We started out hot, started out the first drive, marched right down and scored. I have to be able to keep the team going, keep the energy up, keep it going throughout the second half, but I wasn’t able to do that. That’s on me.”

Zappe, 24, finished the afternoon 9-of-14 for 54 yards along with the interception. New England’s chance to force overtime sailed wide left on a 35-yard attempt by rookie kicker Chad Ryland. With it, the organization stands with its worst record through 11 games since 1993 and is currently on track to draft inside the top three come April.

The Patriots waived emergency quarterback Will Grier on the eve of the loss to the Giants. Undrafted rookie Malik Cunningham, who has worked at wide receiver of late, resides back on the practice squad following a stint on the active roster.

No outside additions to the depth chart appear imminent.

“I don’t really see that right now,” head coach Bill Belichick said during his Monday video conference. “But I mean, I wouldn’t rule anything out, anything that would help our team. We’ve brought in players at any position. You never know what’s going to happen. If I think there’s somebody, if our pro scouting department thinks there is somebody that would help us, we’ll certainly listen to it and take a look at it, at any position. It’s not really about the quarterback position. It would really be any position. I don’t know. Nobody that comes to mind, but we’ll see.”

The Los Angeles Chargers visit Gillette Stadium next Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enable Google Transliteration.(To type in English, press Ctrl+g)