Could the Patriots’ Bailey Zappe take the starting job from Mac Jones? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein discuss the possibility that a late-round rookie could unseat the established starter in New England. Something that happened over two decades ago that brought great success to Belichick and the Patriots. While Charles is having a hard time believing the Pats could find another late-round stud quarterback, Jori reveals why Belichick seems to be so enamored by his rookie QB. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

CHARLES ROBINSON: Do you think Bill Belichick, when he's given the opportunity to shut down the idea that Bailey Zappe, playing well, could be the quarterback, no guarantees to Mac Jones-- given the opportunity to go, no, we're not going to get into the Mac-- hey, no guarantees Mac Jones is coming back-- Bill didn't do it. I don't know what to think.

With Bill, I always feel like there's-- we see 3% of whatever's going on, really, in his mind. And we try really hard to mine that 3% for something bigger. You tell me.

It's not like he hasn't pulled the card of a veteran before, famously, and have it work out really, really well. There's no way in hell, right? There's no way in hell they look down on another quarterback late in the draft who just ends up starting and Wally Pipping another-- there's no way, right?

JORI EPSTEIN: What Belichick said about his performance wasn't just, oh, he threw the touchdown. He didn't get sacked. It was, he sees the game the way that I see the game. He'll come off the field, and he'll see what's happening, and then he'll tell me what he saw. And he might not always have done the right thing, but he sees it.

And he went on and on about that. And I'm like, not that I'm reading every Bill Belichick transcript, but that's not the Bill Belichick I thought I heard talking about players. Like, since when does he give out praise like that and also that type of praise, where it's about the mind in the game, I mean, unless he's hiring him to be their offensive coordinator, which might not be a bad idea, either, with some of what's been--

CHARLES ROBINSON: At this point.

JORI EPSTEIN: --going on early season and preseason. That said, that happens. Then on radio, he's asked to dismiss the notion that a healthy Mac Jones wouldn't be a starter. And he goes, oh, I'm not going to get into hypothetical scenarios. We're not at the point in that decision. And we didn't have that decision last week because Mac Jones was inactive.

And then again today, he's kind of, like, just playing a little bit coy. Now, some of this could be giving Bailey the confidence. I think what he does against the Browns will be interesting because the Lions are not a good defense. I do think that there's something about the momentum of a guy. And it's interesting because obviously, I'm based in Dallas, and you have the whole, like, Cooper Rush is coming for Dak Prescott--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

JORI EPSTEIN: [INAUDIBLE] wants it. Dak has seven years. Mac has one year. And it'll be interesting, how quickly can Mac get back and what happens? I think that the same way Bailey Zappe helping the Patriots-- and again, the defense shut out Detroit. We should keep that in mind.

And the running game was good. And this wasn't only him, but he did what he needed to do and more. The same way that that increased the Patriots' playoff chances by 7.9% last week, I kind of feel like that's a similar ticker I'm looking at of the percentage chance that he gets to keep this job. It's like, every time he wins, every time--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

JORI EPSTEIN: --he stacks success, every time he shows he can read the defenses, despite being a fourth-round rookie-- and again, in Dallas, I cover a guy who had a lot of success as a fourth-round rookie-- every time he does stuff like that, he makes it a harder decision. And every time Bill doesn't negate it, he kind of digs himself a little bit of a hole. And I know that he's Bill Belichick.

He doesn't care what hole he's dug himself. It's on him to get out. And it's not that he's answering to anybody else, especially with the way their front office structure is. But I think it's a little more interesting than we definitely expected it to be two weeks ago or even one week ago.

CHARLES ROBINSON: This is vintage Bill. Like, Bill knows what he's doing when he gets up there. He knows what he's trying to be led into. And he likes to kind of screw with the media and play his little mind games.

And by the way, this would be far less shocking than Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe. I mean, what-- this is a millionth as crazy as that seemed at the time, right? It's not beyond comprehension that if he wins games and just continues to do productive things and breathes confidence into the people around him by his play, that Bill will go, we're going to ride it.