When the New England Patriots offense takes the field against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, it will apparently again not be led by Mac Jones. The Patriots will instead turn to rookie QB Bailey Zappe, according to a report by theScore’s Jordan Schultz.
Zappe, 23, originally opened the season as the Patriots’ third-string quarterback behind Jones and Brian Hoyer. With Jones still recovering from a high ankle sprain and Hoyer now on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in Week 4, New England will give its fourth-round draft selection his first career start.
Zappe may not have any starting experience at the NFL level so far, but he did see extensive action against the Green Bay Packers last week. With Brian Hoyer knocked out on the second series, the youngster was brought in to lead the team for three-plus quarters.
Completing 10 of 15 pass attempts for 99 yards and a touchdown, Zappe helped the Patriots take Green Bay to overtime. New England eventually came up short, losing 27-24 on a game-winning Packers field goal.
Circumstances are different this week, however. With Jones limited in practice and Hoyer in concussion protocol, Zappe received a bulk of the work in practice — he and recent practice squad addition Garrett Gilbert were the only fully healthy quarterbacks present for this week’s series of practices.
“He’s gotten a lot more snaps,” head coach Bill Belichick said about the young QB during his Friday press conference. “You know, it’s always good for a quarterback — timing, communication. He’s definitely making progress with more experience and more opportunity.”
Whether Zappe’s reported rise to the starting lineup will also mean Mac Jones being ruled out for a second straight week remains to be seen. The Patriots will release their final injury report of the week on Friday afternoon.