Who is Bailey Zappe? Will he take over as the New England Patriots starting quarterback from Mac Jones?
It's safe to say the New England Patriots are far away from the dominating force they were a couple of years ago in the NFL.
Since the departure of Tom Brady in 2020, the Patriots have struggled to reach the postseason and have not won a playoff game since 2018.
When Mac Jones was drafted by the franchise three years ago, there was optimism that he would be the centre of a rebuild, and that seemed the case in his rookie year when he was one of the best performers in his position.
However, the two seasons that followed were ones to forget with Jones struggling to get going on offense and this all came to a head against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday when he threw two interceptions and was strip sacked with two of those turnovers being returned for touchdowns before the end of the first half.
Jones was then benched by Bill Belichick in the second half for backup quaterback Bailey Zappe, and Patriots fans have been here before when Zappe gave a good account of himself last season when Jones was on the sidelines.
But will Zappe be the starting QB for the Patriots going forward?
Who is Bailey Zappe?
Bailey Zappe was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and while he initially was named the third-string quarterback for the franchise, he was on the field in week four of that season against the Green Bay Packers.
Mac Jones was injured for that game, and backup QB Brian Hoyer was forced off early resulting in Zappe's introduction.
The Patriots would go onto lose against the Packers, but then Zappe produced impressive performances in the following two games which were wins over the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. In the process, Zappe became the Super Bowl era's first rookie QB to win in his first two starts and have a passer rating of at least 100 in each game.
When Jones returned against the Chicago Bears in week seven, Zappe was on the bench, but was then brought back to play in the second quarter with clear signs that Jones was struggling.
Following Zappe's 2023 season debut against the Dallas Cowboys, Patriots fans are wondering whether it will be deja vu when it comes to the battle with Jones under centre.
Will Bailey Zappe be the starting QB before the season ends?
As expected, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not give much away when it came to the quarterback situation following his team's back-back humiliations against the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, 38-3 and 34-0 respectively.
Zappe has been put into the game late in each of the Patriots' recent blowout losses, throwing for 79 yards and completing seven of 18 passing attempts.
Jones remains very much the starter in New England for now, but coach Belichick has never been one to avoid a tough decision and will make a change if he thinks that the time has come.