Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe went from never being active for an NFL game to being thrust into action in a scrap against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers in an overtime game at Lambeau Field.
Ultimately, the game didn’t go the way of Zappe and the New England Patriots. But still, it was a heck of a debut for the fourth-round pick, who entered the game after Brian Hoyer left the game with a head injury. With Mac Jones already out with an ankle injury, Zappe was the only healthy quarterback left.
Q: Take us through your day. What was your first appearance like? Do you think you got better as you went on?
ZAPPE: “Of course, it was exciting, the first opportunity to play in an NFL game. Obviously not the outcome we wanted at all, First, I want to give credit to all my teammates. They kept me calm. They kept me – getting the nerves out of me. They kept me in my space and cool, calm and collected. Everybody played well. O-line played. We ran the ball well. The game comes down to just a couple of plays and the game comes out differently.”
Q: When did you feel like you got your feet under you?
ZAPPE: “Probably after, like, the first play. After the first play, after the first hand off, trying to settle in and everything kind of quieted down. Then I just started giving the ball to my playmakers and letting them do the rest.”
Q: You remember the first play? What was going through your head?
ZAPPE: “Just making sure I did my job.”
Q: Did you kind of take a moment and appreciate the moment, realize you’re at Lambeau Field, going against Aaron Rodgers?
ZAPPE: “Maybe a little bit pregame. But once the game started, I kind of settled in focused on the task at hand, especially when I went in and then my objective was to do my job and do it well.”
Q: What’s the frustration after failing to score in over time?
ZAPPE: “Of course, losing a game is always the worst thing. Everybody will look back and look at the things that we could have done differently. I feel like we played well as a team tonight. O-line played well. Receivers played well. Running backs ran well. Of course, there are things we’re gonna see tomorrow that we can look back at and say, ‘If we did this differently,’ and there’s things personally for me that, you know, if I’d make a throw or I’d do something differently, the outcome’s different. But that’s the good thing about football. You always have the next game.”
Q: Do you feel like you proved anything today?
ZAPPE: “I guess so. But I’ll leave that up to those people.”
Q: What was that feeling like, to throw your first ever NFL touchdown pass?
ZAPPE: “It felt good in that moment. But once that moment was over, I was ready for the next play and get going.”
Q: What did you see on those crossing routes, and what do you like about those plays?
ZAPPE “I felt comfortable with that play. We all talked about it on the sideline, came out there and executed it well. I got to play some pitch and catch with the receivers. We were able to execute that play.”
Q: What was the message from the coaching staff and offensive leaders when you went into the game?
ZAPPE: “That’s football. Play ball.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your interaction with Aaron Rogers after the game?
ZAPPE: “He just said, ‘Good luck the rest of the way.’ I said the same thing for him. He said, ‘Congrats on playing for the first time.’ That was really about it.”
Q: What kind of thoughts did you have at halftime?
“The biggest thing coming into halftime was adjustments, really. While I was mainly thinking about what we could do differently and what we all could do differently as an offense in the second half. We did very well coming out. The offense was executing play in the second half and we settled down and we started playing football.”
Q: How different was this week for you preparing?
ZAPPE: “As far as being prepared, I’ve been doing this for like the last three weeks, kind of just preparing myself as I’m gonna play. I feel like that’s one way I can continue to learn, continue to grow as player, treating every week that way. I really didn’t prepare any differently this week. I did my normal stuff, met with coaches, watched film, met with teammates, did all that stuff.”
The moment with Brian, did you see there was an issue coming off the field?
ZAPPE: “Personally, no, I saw him coming off the field. I didn’t know what was going on. (Quarterbacks coach) Joe (Judge) turned to me and said that you’re going in the next series and went about my way and started playing ball.”
How much did Joe Judge help you during the game?
ZAPPE: “Joe, Mat (Patricia), coach (Bill) Belichick, they would all come over after a series and would look at the little tablets, look over the pictures and everything, kind of going through coverages they gave us through certain formations and kind of just talking out that last series. That really helped move on throughout the game.
What was the reaction on the sideline to Jack Jones’ pick-six? Did it feel like a momentum shift?
ZAPPE: “Yeah, no doubt. That was a great play by Jack. I think that’s, what, his first career interception? For it to be a pick-six, that’s pretty awesome by him.”
What did you learn from today that you can take with you going forward now in your NFL career?
ZAPPE: “Just to continue to do my job, get the ball to playmakers, let them do what they do best out in space and continue to stay cool, calm and collected back there and run the offense and, really, just do the best I can for the team.”
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