Bailey Zappe is quietly winning the Patriots quarterback competition

Belichick promised a quarterback battle between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe, and Zappe is winning.
Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones
Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Back in March, when asked who would be the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick refused to name Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe as the frontrunner.

His actual quote was the headline of sports blogs and news outlets across the country when he said, “Everyone will get a chance to play.”

His words did not just allude to, but flat out spelled that an open quarterback competition would determine who the Patriots' starter would be this year. In typical Belichick fashion, he would not decide on the starter based on who is getting paid more or who was drafted higher.

It wasn’t long ago he benched the first overall pick in the draft in favor of a sixth-round pick out of Michigan. I’m not drawing a parallel between the talent of the 2001 and 2023 duo. Mac Jones has nowhere near Bledsoe’s arm.

I am comparing a top pick losing his job to a lower pick because the lower-picked guy is just plain better.

Fast forward to minicamp in June, and Bailey Zappe was taking snaps with the first team. Not as many as Jones, but the competition had clearly begun.

The Mac Jones PR team posted daily stories about how well Mac was getting along with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien or how he looked significantly improved from last season.

There were reports about his re-emergence as Belichick's favorite and how he was one of a handful of players showing up to Gillette all off-season (these reports failed to let people know that Bailey Zappe was another of those players).  

There was even a video from minicamp shared on social media of Mac Jones throwing a touchdown pass to Tyquan Thornton. When watched closely, it appears Mac is throwing one way, and the ball travels another. A Twitter post suggested that the reception was from a Zappe pass, and somebody had spliced together two videos just to get Mac more press.

The onslaught continued in training camp, with a video emerging just prior of Mac Jones throwing a pass to a kid at a football camp. Nothing special, really, unless you are trying to convince the world that Mac Jones is the Patriots guy.

Every post of the video had some comment about how excellent the throw was, and what a cannon Jones has for an arm. Either Patriots fans are severely overreacting, or these were just bots pushing an agenda of a quarterback on the ropes.

Through 3 days of camp Jones and Zappe share similar completion percentages in passing drills (7 on 7 and 11 on 11). Jones has the only interception between them, and reports of how impressive rookie Demario Douglas looks can be tied to most of his snaps coming with Zappe.

The second-year player continues to dazzle with tight spirals, a quick release, and a Brady-like pocket presence.

Don’t believe the Mac Jones hype machine, pumping out content as fast as they can. There is only one truth: thanks to training camps being open to the public, you can see it for yourself.

Bailey Zappe is quietly winning the quarterback competition and could replace Mac Jones by week one of the regular season.

When, not if, this happens, do you think we will hear reports about how amazing Mac Jones is at holding a clipboard or how incredible he wears a baseball cap on the sidelines?

I don’t think so, either. It’s about to be Zappe Hour!