The Patriots offseason has been quite a mess for the organization, as rumors continue swirling and unattractive headlines dominate the New England news circuit.
Most of it has involved Mac Jones and Bill Belichick and the presumed tension that began early last year. Although several of those rumors have been debunked, a known Patriots criticizer continues to fuel the fire, ensuring the smoke is consistently seen for days on end.
As if starting the drama about Jones “being in Belichick’s doghouse for seeking coaching help outside of the organization last season” wasn’t enough, Chris Simms spoke to Pro Football Talk to discuss the quarterback even more.
It was revealed recently that Jones had been a constant presence at the Patriots’ facility this offseason, reportedly spending every day there preparing for the 2023 season.
With this in mind, Simms suggested a hidden motivation for Jones’ extra work, claiming the threat of Bailey Zappe as the reason for his actions.
"“Not surprised to hear that Mac’s hanging around the facility, especially in a year like this. And, you know, there’s a backup that gets thrown into the conversation with his name quite often. I’m sure every now and then, it wakes him up in the middle of the night. He’s like, ‘Bailey Zappe — OK, I gotta get to work.’ Psycho starting quarterbacks, that’s how they think. That became a thing this year, too. I’m sure he’s going, ‘Wait, Bailey, is he here? He’s not here? Good, I’m going into the facility. I’m going to get a few hours on him.’”"
We know there has been speculation that some of Jones’ teammates preferred Zappe at quarterback over him, along with many fans and former players voicing the same opinion throughout the season.
This may have been a factor for him to be at the facility nearly every day, but considering he got the starting position back once he returned from injury, is Zappe really a threat to him?
This isn’t new for Jones to be doing during the offseason.
He had reportedly put in a lot of extra work after his rookie year, working with several different coaches around the country to improve his athletic abilities and life choices. So seeing that he’s been spending a lot of time in Foxboro since the end of last season is the least bit surprising, nor does it mean anything more than what it is; a quarterback putting in extra work at his team’s facility after a rough season.
The more likely motivation seems to be Belichick’s lack of trust and support rather than worrying about Zappe taking the starting position away from him. Despite accomplishing a successful rookie campaign, Belichick is yet to state that Jones is the starting quarterback moving forward, with his most recent refusal to do so just a few weeks ago at the NFL owner’s meeting in Arizona.
Although he expressed his belief that Jones feared job security hence his presence at Gillette Stadium, Simms slightly walked back his comments, stating it’s all competitive motivation and is beneficial for the player and the team.
"“It’s all the competitive, good culture-building things you need. Yes, it does give Bill Belichick and the rest of the group more confidence, too, in that, ‘Hey, my guy’s here working.’ That starts to filter through the building and filter to the locker room, and players start doing it, too.”"
Regardless of the actual reason why he’s been working so much at Gillette Stadium, all that matters is that Jones is taking his job seriously and is doing all he can to improve.