Is Mac Jones Actually in Danger of Losing Starting Job?
If you took the temperature of the fan base, Zappe fever has officially hit New England. The Patriots 4th round rookie out of Western Kentucky has performed beyond admirably in relief of the injured Mac Jones, who went out towards the end of a week three defeat against Baltimore with a high ankle sprain.
In the three games since, Bailey Zappe has completed 51 out of 70 passes for nearly 600 yards, 5 touchdowns, and just one interception (that wasn’t even his fault). It seems like the New England offense under Zappe has gotten back to basics, simplified things, and become much more efficient than it was through the first three games.
As the media loves to do, controversy has been created as to if Mac Jones is angry with the coaching staff, and if Zappe is the legitimate starter moving forward, even when Jones is back to full health. While Zappe’s surprising performance gives Bill Belichick every reason not to rush Mac Jones back from injury, I fully believe that this is still Jones’ team when he returns.
It’s a good problem to have. Two solid quarterbacks. And Jones’ turnover issues through three games (5 interceptions) simply cannot happen. But I think that Zappe has been the benefactor of the coaching staff stopping trying to outsmart themselves and getting back to what the Patriots do well. Clearly, Zappe can run the offense efficiently and effectively.
But Mac Jones has a higher ceiling, and while he had some turnovers you can’t make against Baltimore the last time he played, he also made some of the best plays and throws of his young NFL career thus far. Jones should be given the opportunity to start again once he is healthy, but perhaps on a bit of a shorter leash.
If he comes back in and continues to turn the ball over, then maybe you think about putting Zappe back in. One has to think this experience watching Zappe perform like he has could have lit a fire under Mac Jones and make him realize that absolutely nothing in the NFL is guaranteed.
Yes, Zappe has been impressive. Much more than people thought he would be. But I am of the belief that the offense was starting to come along before Jones got hurt. It’s a process. While nothing Bill Belichick does would surprise me at this point, Mac Jones is the best quarterback on this team and should be put back in when he is fully healthy.