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Bailey Zappe embracing competition despite ‘elephant in the room’ of uncertain future with Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bailey Zappe is in a tough spot. While he remains on the New England Patriots roster as the team continues to roll through OTAs, his path to playing time has grown murky at best. Over the last few months, the head coach that drafted him parted ways with the franchise, and the new regime signed veteran Jacoby Brissett in free agency while drafting two rookies, including Drake Maye with the No. 3 overall pick. 

Translation: Zappe is fighting for a roster spot. 

But don’t take it from me, head coach Jerod Mayo referred to Zappe’s situation as “awkward” before Wednesday’s OTA session while Brissett characterized it as the “elephant in the room” when speaking to the media after practice. 

 Despite what appears to be an uphill climb, Zappe seems to be embracing the competition. 

“They bring in guys every year, obviously,” the third-year quarterback said of the team’s additions at the position. “They want everybody to compete and that’s what they’ve been telling us this entire time that everybody is going to get an opportunity and everybody’s going to compete. Like Mayo says, it depends on what you do with that opportunity.” 

During Wednesday’s session, Zappe did get the second-most amount of reps behind Brissett and ahead of Maye. When asked directly after practice, the former fourth-rounder said that his mindset remains that he’s competing to be the starter. 

“They’ve told all of us that there’s going to be a competition,” he said. “Everybody’s going to have the opportunity to go out there and prove that they can be that guy. All four of us are going to do our best to do that, and then whoever gets that job, the other three of us are going to help that guy do whatever he can on the field to win games.” 

If there is a true competition for the Week 1 job, Brissett appears to be the leader in the clubhouse based on the reps and limiting viewing we’ve seen so far this spring. That said, whoever wins the job is ultimately just warming up the seat for whenever Maye is ready to ascend to the starting role. 

“This is a tough situation for him and he’s accepted that,” Brissett said of Zappe’s standing. “He’s going out there every day and competing and he’s doing a really good job and making a lot of plays. I’m excited for his growth.” 

“I think he has handled it fantastically,” Mayo said before practice when asked about Zappe. “Look, he is getting reps out here. You guys see him out here, and I would say he is getting better.”

What will be interesting to monitor over the next few weeks/months is how New England proceeds at the quarterback position. Not only will the reps be dissected, but whether or not they take four quarterbacks into training camp will be a storyline in itself. If they are looking to start training camp with just three, it could prove to be a competition between Zappe and rookie Joe Milton III for that final spot. 

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