With less than a week until Patriots training camp starts, fans are already looking ahead to see which players will make the roster. Training camp is when jobs are won or lost and roles become more clearly defined, so players need to make a good impression if they want to meet Bill Belichick’s high standards.
Belichick has a history of making tough decisions and trusting what he sees rather than relying on a player’s reputation or track record, which always keeps fans guessing. That was certainly the case in 2021, when he shockingly cut Cam Newton and gave the starting job to rookie Mac Jones right off the bat.
With so much roster uncertainty at this time of year, here are the three biggest training camp battles to watch as preseason gets underway.
3 Biggest Patriots Training Camp Battles to Watch
It’s been awhile since the Patriots had a quarterback controversy, but one emerged last year when Mac Jones went down with a high-ankle sprain, opening the door for backup QB Bailey Zappe. Zappe shined while Jones was out, causing New England fans to get “Zappe Fever.”
Jones ultimately reclaimed his starting role after coming back, but his underwhelming performance means the starting QB job is still up for grabs. Jones needs to prove that last year was a fluke and that he’s still worth the first-round pick that the Patriots spent on him in 2021.
Zappe, on the other hand, certainly has a case for the job after going 2-0 as a starter last year and completing 70.7% of his passes with a 5:3 TD/INT ratio.
Jones deserves another shot and a fresh start with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, but if Zappe outplays him in camp the calls for Zappe to replace him are only going to grow louder. Belichick isn’t one to cave to public pressure, but he also needs to do what’s best for the team.