BOSTON — Playing quarterback for a football teams means getting extra attention. Playing quarterback for the New England Patriots means getting even more than that already-high level of attention. It can be a lot for any player, let alone a rookie.
Yet thus far in his NFL journey, rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe has handled those duties just fine. And he looked like a seasoned veteran when speaking from the podium this week.
Zappe was asked if he’s preparing to be the starter this weekend in Cleveland. He spilled no beans.
“I’m preparing to do what my coaches tell me I’m supposed to be doing,” Zappe replied. “Right now, that’s to take practice reps and doing everything I can to help the team.”
Zappe was also asked if the injured Mac Jones is taking more snaps at practice this week, compared to last week.
“That’s a question for Coach Belichick,” Zappe smartly answered. “I’m just taking advantage of the reps that they give me.”
When asked what it felt like to pick up his first NFL win, Zappe deferred to the team accomplishment over his own.
“Yeah, it was a great win for us as a team,” he said. “We played great team football, all three phases. Going into this week, we really want to continue to grow on that and get ready for the Browns this Sunday.”
While Zappe kept a straight face throughout his four-and-a-half-minute press conference, he did crack once, when asked if he’s caught wind of “Zappe Fever” gripping the New England region.
“Nope, I have not,” Zappe said with a smile.
When a reporter noted that the smile might have indicated a lie, Zappe came clean.
“I’ve — I guess I’ve heard a little bit about it,” Zappe admitted. “But I mean, I haven’t dove into any of that. I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. I’m just focused on what’s going on right now, and that’s the Browns.”
Zappe has completed 27 of his 36 passes (75 percent) for 287 yards with two touchdowns and one interception since taking the reins under center for the Patriots in Week 3 in Green Bay. Jones has a better chance to play this week than he did last week, but it could very well be Zappe making his second start on Sunday in Cleveland.
For now, Zappe is doing what his coaches ask of him — both on the field and at the podium.
“I think every day I’ll continue to get more and more comfortable every day getting reps. Getting reps before and after practice with my teammates, during practice,” he said. “Just continue to take it day by day and getting better every day.”
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