Bailey Zappe’s initial release shocked many that the sophomore might have played his last shot in New England.
However, the Patriots signed Zappe back to the practice squad after he was picked up on waivers, but there was an initial report that said the Patriots were still looking for a veteran backup for Mack Jones.
Do the Patriots really hate Zabi? I have a feeling they still love him in the building, however, he was seen as ‘Patricia’s dead man’ and was chosen to fulfill Kyle Shanahan’s flouted attacking style last season as attacking coordinators first tried to implement it.
Pierre Strong Jr. was another one of those picks who should have thrived in the outside district scheme, but was recently traded to the Cleveland Browns for offensive tackle Tyrone Whitley Jr. And it’s possible the Patriots could try to right the ship internally with those picks from 2022, which no longer count as a favorable blueprint for Zappe, Strong, and yes, Tyquan Thornton, either.
The Patriots still believe Cole Strange is a good fit for the new offense and can adapt, even if he’s better suited to Kyle Shanahan’s agile offensive line system and many West Coast offenses deployed.
There is still some belief that Zappe can develop parts of his game to be a capable backup in the system, but it is likely that the Patriots will want to find a veteran quarterback who can now step in behind Jones to direct him and jump in if necessary due to an injury.
After what we’ve seen all summer, Zappy is unable to do so now and will take advantage of the development representatives. The Zappe, in its current state, is better suited to single-play, pre-determined offenses, much like those QB-friendly systems that Shanahan runs.
If Zappe is more of a QB3 than anything else, who could the Patriots bring to fit the scheme, good enough to run him in case of need, and mature enough to be comfortable as a mentor and back-up?
Colt McCoy is a 12-year NFL veteran who has played for the Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Commanders, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals. With over 36 starts in his career, McCoy has the experience to run an NFL offense at a spot starter here or there.
He has experience with Brian Dabul’s offense, which is similar to O’Brien’s offense when the two overlapped in the early days of McCoy’s career. With McCoy mostly being a professional reserve, he will not make Jones uncomfortable, and he must provide guidance.
Notable quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and even Cam Newton have hailed having an older veteran signal caller behind them as one of the most important parts of their development. Mahomes had Chad Henne. Josh Allen was behind Derek Anderson and Matt Barkley, and Cam Newton also enjoyed a long career with Anderson as his backup.
McCoy could be the perfect mentor to Jones and even Zabby, just like Brian Hoyer in 2021 and 2022. This time, however, McCoy will be ready to go if needed as the No. 2 option. Having such a veteran presence is not something to be overlooked when it comes to developing a young midfielder, no matter which team he’s in. They need mentors and are properly developed.
AJ McCarron is a 32-year-old free agent who recently played in the XFL. His decision to play for the XFL came after a successful eight-year career as an NFL backup.
In 2021, he tore his ACL, and his priorities have truly changed. He could still be an above-average backup in the NFL today, but he chose the XFL and less money so he could. Kids can see their dad playing football live Do not keep the clipboard on the sidelines.
However, with time, McCarron may sway a good contract to become a long-term veteran reserve for the Patriots. McCarron will watch action in case of injury, and the former Alabama quarterback will be able to mentor another Alabama alum in Jones.
Macaron will also have the chance to be coached by Bill Belichick, which is something his kids would also feel nice to see, even if he carries a clipboard. He’s committed offenses similar to New England’s in the past, and he’ll immediately reform the QB2 role.
Case Keenum played under Coach O’Brien in Houston as a backup quarterback. He will make a smooth transition from the Texans to offense that might suit his skills better. Houston just got CJ Stroud second overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, they also took Davis Mills in 2021 and they seem to like him as a QB2.
If the Patriots want to call up an old friend in Texas General Manager Nick Caserio, the basis is in place for a deal that could send Keenum to the Patriots. Keenum has made more than 64 starts in his career and will provide the perfect balance of mentor and high-profile backup for Jones.