Malik Cunningham Makes Bid for Patriots' QB Job With Postgame Comments

Malik Cunningham appeared to make a bid for the New England Patriots' starting quarterback job with his post-Week 13 comments.
Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Malik Cunningham (16)
Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Malik Cunningham (16) / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots' lifeless offense remained without a pulse once again in Week 13. This time, though, it was Bailey Zappe who started at quarterback while Mac Jones sat.

Zappe's uninspiring performance and Jones' struggles leave the Patriots without a proven answer at QB for yet another week. They're not out of fresh options, however, with practice squad quarterback/wide receiver Malik Cuningham still waiting on deck.

Following his call-up in Week 13 and Zappe's disappointing day, Cunningham seemed to shoot his shot at the QB1 job.

The Louisville product told reporters after the Week 13 loss that he "felt more like himself" playing QB in practice, according to the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan. Cunningham also revealed he even had a package of plays prepared for this game, but he didn't get a chance to see them out.

Cunningham's feelings about playing QB in practice are noteworthy to say the least. They act a subtle message to the team that he feels he's better used under center than at wide receiver, which is where the Pats have split his reps to this point.

Considering his comments also came on the heels of another poor day from a New England quarterback, they can also be viewed as the rookie making a case to get a chance at seeing some actual snaps.

It's obvious the Patriots could use whatever help they can get at QB with both Zappe and Jones playing bench-worthy football. We've only had brief glimpses of Cunningham, and they were basically all in preseason, though it's tough to see how he'd be any worse.

At the very least, New England should put Cunningham under center just for the sake of player development. We know who Jones and Zapper are at this point, but the rookie could have all kinds of potential waiting to be tapped.

Cunningham getting reps in practice at his preferred position is a great start to his QB1 bid. With how the vets in front of him are playing, he could only be a week or two away from seeing significant playing time.

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