Everything the Patriots said about Bailey Zappe’s first NFL start – masslive.com

There were plenty of positives to talk about after the Patriots’ 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, but the performance of first-time starter Bailey Zappe was prime among them as completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards, a touchdown and one interception.

Here’s what his teammates, coach and Zappe himself had to say about his performance in the postgame:


      

Bill Belichick included comments on Zappe in his opening statement:

Belichick: “Bailey made a lot of good decisions, was accurate with the ball. Thought he showed some poise there at some pressure situations where he got out of it and found an open receiver, made good decisions.”

He was then asked specifically about him.

Q: How much growth have you seen in Bailey Zappe from last week, obviously coming off the bench, and then this week having snaps in practice and full preparation into this week? How much growth did you see in him?

Belichick: “I thought it was better definitely being able to get in the huddle every day, call a play, see it, execute it, versus watching somebody else do it. That’s always more beneficial. But he learns well whether he is in there or not. Yeah, it was good. There was definitely an element of that. I couldn’t put a percentage on it or anything, but certainly it helped. He was confident out there. He does a good job.

He does a good job of seeing the game and can come off and identify and articulate what he saw, what happened. That’s usually right. What he saw is usually what I saw or maybe when you look at the film, maybe there’s something that’s a little gray in there that his explanation is actually good. It was the way he saw it. Maybe he might not have done the right thing, but he saw the game. That goes all the way back to preseason. He played a lot in preseason. I think those snaps were good for him. He learned a lot. We learned a lot. I think there’s definitely some benefit to the playing time that he had in preseason in the games that he has played the last two weeks.

Lions coach Dan Campbell was asked to assess Zappe:

Campbell: “I would say this: They had a good game plan for him, which we knew they would. They didn’t do anything too exotic. And, you know, they were able to stay ahead of the sticks. You know, they were very efficient. They gave him some easy throws and some things where they could block it up and let him see it and run away from coverage. And you know what, he made those plays. He made those plays.

So I thought we would have been a little bit better in that regard. But the kid played good, too. He played good. I mean, that’s a credit to him. That’s a credit to them putting that game plan together. You know, they did well.”

Hunter Henry was impressed:

Henry: “He did a great job. Had a lot of control. Great job in the huddle, poised. We knew that going into the game, I mean, he did a great job. He did that last week and was able to control the game really well.”

David Andrews said he was confident in Zappe despite his lack of experience:

Andrews: “Very. I think seeing how he handled [the game] last week and that adversity. Really getting a full week to prepare here. I thought he did a great job in managing the game, making the right calls and checks. Making the right decisions. He did a great job for us, made some big throws and did a great job protecting the football. He did a really great job.”

Zappe was asked about his increased comfort level:

Zappe: “I would say a fair amount. Getting another week of practice in, getting mental reps, physical reps, taking every day this past week. Taking every rep as a game rep. Continuing to work with receivers, O-line before and after practice, and just kind of building that comfortability with everybody. It was a great way to come out this Sunday and get a win.”

How much better did it feel getting a win than a loss last week?

Zappe: “It always feels better getting a win. We played team football today. Defense pitched a shutout. O-line played really well. Receivers played well. It was a team effort today, and it was nice to get the win.”

On having Jakobi Meyers healthy:

Zappe: “It’s nice to have Kobs back out there. He has been in the league for a few years, so to have that veteran mentality back in the group is amazing. We know we have an all-around really good receiving group. Really the only job for us quarterbacks is to get those guys the ball and let them do what they do.”

What have the last couple of weeks been like to the turnaround to being thrust in the starting line-up?

Zappe: “It’s kind of like I’ve always been told, taking advantage of your opportunity. We had an opportunity today as a team to go out there and get a win, and we played really well, played team football. Defense played well. Offense played well. Special teams played well. To be able to play like that as a team, it was amazing to get the win.”

In what areas do you think you felt more comfortable in this game as compared to the last one?

Zappe: “I think I felt comfortable in almost really everything. Getting another week under my belt. Being able to practice with those guys, before and after practice, during practice, taking those reps with those guys. To be honest, I couldn’t really pick out one distinct thing, but I think really I felt more comfortable with really everything. To have my teammates around me, they helped me a lot this week into Sunday.”

How exactly did it feel to hear fans chanting your name throughout and especially at the end of the game?

Zappe: “I like the support, but to be honest with you, I was just more excited about the win. To get a win with my team, that was really the focus point for this week. That was going to be the focus point for the rest of the season.”

How big of an adjustment was it learning how to prepare at this level compared to being in college? How much better have you gotten at it, and how much did that help you this week when you knew there was a good chance you were going to be starting?

Zappe: “I think the biggest thing, the transition,n is the way you prepare, the more you put into it. College you have school. You have all that other stuff, but now it’s just straight ball. So that’s what you do all day every day. I love it. I love playing football. I love learning football. To be a part of this organization and learn from these coaches and players, I think has really helped me continue to grow my game. I know there’s a lot of things that I could continue to work on and continue to get better at, but I have a great cast around me to help me out.”

How important was your offensive line today? You had the protection to come off your first read, which wasn’t there, and complete the play to your second or third read?

Zappe: “They played amazing today. To be honest with you, all five of those guys – actually six, including Marcus Cannon, were the MVPs of today. We ran the ball well. Offense-wise, MVP, they ran the ball well, play action well, kept me clean in the pocket. Like you said, we were able to go through second, third reads, get to your check-down. They played really well today. To be able to have those guys up front, it’s amazing to have that.”

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