Did the New England Patriots add some competition to its quarterback room?
Perhaps they did by selecting Bailey Zappe this afternoon in the fourth round of the 2022 National Football League (NFL) Draft.
Zappe quarterbacked Western Kentucky University last fall to a 9-5 overall record while establishing new single-season FBS records for passing yards (5,967) and touchdowns (62).
The 62 touchdown passes erased the original mark of 60, which was established by Joe Burrow in 2019.
Prior to becoming the quarterback at Western Kentucky, Zappe was spotted under center for three seasons (2018, 2019, and 2020) at Houston Baptist University, but elected to transfer after the Huskies’ 2020 season concluded after four games.
The team elected to not compete in the Southland Conference’s spring season.
Zappe, who was selected with the 137th pick, may not be the flashiest quarterback selected in this year’s NFL Draft. However, he certainly seems to fit the “Patriot mold” given the squad may need an extra arm if Mac Jones were to get injured. Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham are still on the roster, but it is possible one or both quarterbacks may not make the final cut.
The Victoria, Texas native is not the biggest signal-caller or has the arm strength of North Carolina’s Sam Howell, but he does throw a “catchable ball” that should create some explosive plays. Zappe led all FBS signal-callers last fall in completions (51) and yards (1,805) on deep passes and could certainly develop into a capable backup quarterback.
With drafting Zappe, it’s possible Jarrett Stidham’s time in New England could be coming to an end. The 2019 draftee, who has played eight games for the Patriots, could be a valuable target for some teams looking for a younger backup quarterback.
As of this afternoon, it seems likely that Brian Hoyer would step in if Mac Jones were to get injured.
Like many, I am excited to see how some of the team’s offseason signings mesh with members of last year’s squad, including quarterback Cam Newton, who will enter the team’s 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28 as the favorite to be spotted under center in week one against the Miami Dolphins.
Newton did not have a great 2020 season — I think many know that or are aware of how he performed last fall. But coach Bill Belichick has acquired some solid pieces for the offense over the past few months, including tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Both players should certainly help Newton, as well as the offense, perform even better than they did last season — New England won just seven games in 2020 but had a chance to squeak out a few more victories had things gone their way down the stretch, especially against the Buffalo Bills in New York.
Like Newton, Jones competed in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) — Jones played at Alabama while Newton competed at Auburn — and should be ready to take the reigns from the league’s most valuable player in 2015.
Jones led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in January — Alabama rolled past Ohio State, 52-24, in the College Football Playoff National Championship contest, which was held in Miami Gardens, Florida — and recorded career-highs in completions (311), passing yards (4,500), and touchdowns (41). And despite seeing limited action in 2018 and 2019, Jones should be able to translate his junior season’s success to the NFL this summer and fall.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham has competed in eight games since becoming a member of the Patriots organization, including five contests last season. The former Auburn signal-caller completed 22 of 44 passes for a career and season-high 250 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, throw three interceptions compared to one in 2019.
Numerous talking heads, along with various analysts believe Mac Jones could be the starter in the opening week, but it will all depend on how he handles himself during in-game situations. As Patriots.com’s Mike Dussault explains, “Every throw of 11-on-11 work will be dissected ad nauseam, but the bottom line is whether or not Jones or Stidham do enough to dethrone Newton, and can Newton hold them off by taking significant strides in his second year in the offense.”
For now, my bet is Cam Newton will be the starter in the opening week, but I do think Patriots fans will see Mac Jones under center at some point this fall — maybe against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week four? I am not sure if week four is when Jones will be thrusted into the lineup, but we’ll certainly learn more about his readiness when the Patriots scrimmage the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles later this summer. Those inter-squad practices will help us identify which quarterback(s) is ready to lead the hometown team to hopefully a postseason appearance next January.
Happy Monday, everyone! And welcome to the final few days of October – crazy, right?
We’re eight days away from the election – have you voted? If not, there is still plenty of time. And you can visit vote.org to find out how you can vote.
Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) is encouraging all of our fans and friends to vote because your voice matters, so please make sure to cast a vote by mail or in-person. And if you do in-person voting, please make sure to wear a mask, social distance, and bring your own pen!
Alright, let’s begin today’s ‘Daily Noontime’ for Monday, October 26, 2020 – have a great day, everyone!
Yes, Jimmy G. looked good – we all enjoyed seeing our former backup quarterback compete against the unhappy Bill Belichick – but what really caught my attention from yesterday’s contest was the following:
Jeff Wilson Jr. had no issue running against the Patriots defense – before departing the game with an injury, he rushed for 112 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.
Cam Newton and yes, Jarrett Stidham, both struggled to move the ball down the field – they also combined for four interceptions while the San Francisco defense sacked each signal-caller once.
New England will visit the Buffalo Bills next week for a VERY important divisional matchup.
Alright, here is some other news and links from the world wide web:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from capturing their first World Series since 1988. The Dodgers topped the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, and will return to the diamond tomorrow evening with first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. (eastern).
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes the Cam Newton signing is “a no-lose situation” for the Patriots, who currently have two quarterbacks on their roster, including Jarrett Stidham, who some believed would be the starting signal-caller this season.
In addition to welcoming Cam Newton to Massachusetts on Sunday evening, the Patriots also made headlines for violating league rules last season for filming the Cincinnati Bengals‘ sidelines when they played the Cleveland Browns.
As noted on ProFootballTalk.com, the Patriots have been fined $1.1 million dollars and have lost a third-round draft pick.
According to ColinCowherd, who can be heard (and seen) on FS1, there are only four “top college football programs” in the good ole United States of America. Which ones are they?
And finally, Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler announced he will not be headed to Orlando, Florida once his team’s season resumes next month.
Chandler cited “health concerns” for his decision to not join his team, which has won 30 games this season.
It’s Monday, which means its time for a brand new week. Are you ready?
As usual, we’re here to put a smile on your face and take some time away from news of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is exactly what we will start doing … now!
Today’s Weather in Boston (and the Greater Boston Area): After a nice weekend with some sun and wind, it will be a bit cooler today – look for temperatures hovering between 34 and 38 degrees. It will be overcast for the majority of the day – maybe we’ll see the sun for a few minutes? – but then a wintry mix arrives later this afternoon, which will turn to rain for most of us this evening.
Luckily, tomorrow will be warmer and include the sun, but there seems to be a lot of rain in the forecast this week, which means we should all just stay indoors (and be safe, of course!).
The Noontime Headlines for Monday, March 23rd, 2020
Looking for things to do while staying indoors and hunkering down to protect yourself from COVID-19? Then check out this list of “Things to do” from Boston.com.
We started our first theme week here at Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) yesterday – we are producing content on Boston and New England sports teams from the past decade. And we began with our All-Decade Boston Bruins team.
On This Date in History
1948: Kansas topped Baylor in the 10th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship to claim the program’s first-ever national title.
1957: North Carolina beat Kansas, 54-53, in triple-overtime in the 19th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Wilt Chamberlain, who played for Kansas, became the fourth player to be named the tournament’s most valuable player despite not being on the championship squad.
1963: Loyola-Chicago beats Cincinnati, 60-58, in overtime in the 25th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, providing the Ramblers with their initial title in their first-ever finals appearance.
1994: Wayne Gretzky sets the NHL record with 802 goals scored.