Patriots' Huge Week 13 Quarterback Shakeup Revealed

Nov 26, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4)
Nov 26, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After the New England Patriots treated the starting quarterback position last week as a closely-guarded state secret, there appears to be more clarity as the team heads into its Week 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The tight-lipped Patriots were only able to hide things for so long, and really the writing had been on the wall all week. Change is coming at the quarterback position.

Zappe fever is back.

Patriots News: Bailey Zappe to Start vs Chargers

Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic, second-year quarterback Bailey Zappe will get the nod on Sunday. Zappe has been forced into action four times this season due to the poor performance of starter Mac Jones, but has yet to start a game.

In his relief outings in 2023, Zappe has completed 19 of 39 passes for 158 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. With a full week of preparation, game planning, and the majority of reps in practice, the Bailey Zappe of this week should be a much fairer representation for Patriots fans.

In the absence of Mac Jones due to injury last season, Zappe stepped into the Patriots starting role and performed admirably. New England won both games that he started, while outscoring opponents 67 to 15 in those two contests. Across all appearances in 2022, he completed his passes at a 70 percent clip, tossing five touchdowns with three interceptions.

Zappe's confidence also appears to be intact, as he was apparently in high spirits following the team's practice yesterday. His play could also see a boost without the uncertainty around his role looming over him.

Zappe received the lion's share of reps during the media availability portion of practice yesterday while Mac Jones stood off to the side. Interestingly, undrafted rookie QB/WR Malik Cunningham also threw passes. Cunningham stated last week that he had not taken reps at the quarterback position since Week 6.

Zappe was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons at FCS Houston Baptist before transferring to Western Kentucky. In 2021, Zappe set the FBS record for passing yards and touchdowns in a single season, finishing with a staggering 5,967 yards through the air and 62 touchdowns.

Another interesting twist to the story is the question of who will serve as QB2 on Sunday. If it is Malik Cunningham, then Jones will have fallen from starter to inactive in only a week's time.

Regardless of who backs him up, it will be Zappe's show on Sunday.

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