Bailey Zappe has no poker face. Though it has yet to be formally announced, Zappe seemed to indicate to reporters on Wednesday that they'll learn on Thursday he's the 2-9 New England Patriots starting quarterback for Week 13.
He entered the locker room on Wednesday and told reporters they'd see him at the podium on Thursday. The implication is that he'll be representing the team to the media as the starting quarterback.
This would be Zappe's first start of the season after starting two games last year. He's entered several in 2023 -- with 39 passing attempts total across four games -- in the late stages of games, all of which have been losses for the Patriots mostly decided before his entrance.
Now, he'll ostensibly get his shot as the starter in Week 13 against the Chargers at Gillette Stadium.
If Mac Jones is benched, what does the future hold for Zappe, Jones, Belichick, and Patriots?
If this is the reality and Zappe takes over as the starter, one has to wonder what the Patriots' offseason will look like. There's already been considerable whispering and speculation about Bill Belichick's job security as well as his own appetite to continue coaching (both the Patriots and in general). New England moving toward its second quarterback era in the post-Brady portion of its franchise history may signal an end of times for Belichick.
For Mac Jones, it would seem that if this is the case, a change of scenery will be in order for him for next year. The first-round draftee made the Pro Bowl team his rookie year but has largely disappointed in subsequent seasons. He skirted by with the excuse that the offensive coaching was miserable in 2022, but he's playing under Bill O'Brien this year, a massive step up as far as offensive coordinators are concerned. A shift to Zappe is a clear signal: The Patriots will move on without him.
Then, there's Zappe. He has his chance to make his mark in his sophomore season. Plenty of starting quarterbacks have been found when the starter in front of them goes out with injury or loses their job. Could Zappe be the next?