Patriots News: Bill Belichick, Demario Douglas, Matt Patricia and Bailey Zappe

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Bill Belichick awarded Bailey Zappe the Patriot of the Week title after win vs. the Steelers

The varying stories about the Patriots quarterbacks this year have been overwhelming to keep up with. From Bailey Zappe being waived during initial roster cuts and Mac Jones quickly earning the starting role in preseason to Jones being benched four times and Zappe being handed the keys to finish the year, it's been quite the roller coaster in New England.

Now that Jones' future with the team appears more uncertain than it ever has been and Zappe appears to be the guy for the time being, there have been questions about Belichick's feelings on the second-year quarterback.

Rumors have circulated alleging he never wanted to draft Jones in 2021 and that their relationship has become more strained this season. Some of their conversations with the media seemed to highlight that, as well, but his performance is what ultimately landed him on the bench.

Because Zappe was essentially put in as a last resort, how the coaches felt about him in general and about him taking over so late in the season wasn't clear. However, a recent report from ESPN's Mike Reiss indicates Belichick has much more faith in the quarterback than in August.

"Bill Belichick might be philosophically opposed to publicly announcing Bailey Zappe as the Patriots’ starting quarterback, but he made it clear to the team this past week by giving Zappe one of the most prestigious honors.

Belichick singled out Zappe in a team meeting as a Patriot of the Week, along with special teams captain Matthew Slater, veteran cornerback Jonathan Jones and safety Jabrill Peppers.

For many who have come through the Patriots’ locker room in Belichick’s 24 years as head coach, being recognized by Belichick in that setting in front of the entire team is as good as it gets. Belichick noted Zappe’s stat line in last week’s 21-18 win over the Steelers (19-of-28 for 240 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) and how going on the road to beat a team still in the playoff chase was worthy of a salute."

That's a significant jump from where Zappe was before the start of the year. Belichick seemed not to believe in him to the point of waiving him, risking other teams picking him up. But based on how unexpectedly the season has gone, his feelings on Zappe have dramatically changed, whether organically or because they had to.

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