Jakobi Meyers 'proud' of how Mac Jones handled Bailey Zappe chants

Why Jakobi Meyers is 'proud' of Mac Jones after tumultuous season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Mac Jones will be the first to tell you he wasn't at his best in 2022. The New England Patriots quarterback regressed after a strong rookie season and his struggles played a significant role in the team missing the playoffs.

Despite the sophomore slump, Jones' go-to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers came away impressed with how he handled adversity. More specifically, Meyers was moved by how Jones responded to Patriots fans chanting for backup QB Bailey Zappe on multiple occasions.

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"He just showed who he was as a person. Not even just as a football player," Meyers said after Sunday's season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills.

"One of my memories from the year was just seeing him out there playing while you hear people chanting another quarterback's name. That's something that's tough to deal with, but he didn't really complain. He strapped his chin strap up the next play and went back to work. I'm proud of him."

Zappe entered the picture after Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3 and second-string QB Brian Hoyer went down with a concussion in Week 4. The rookie fourth-round draft pick forced overtime against the Green Bay Packers, then won his next two starts to bring "Zappe Fever" to Foxboro.

His success resulted in an awkward situation when Jones was ready to return vs. the Chicago Bears in Week 7. Head coach Bill Belichick rolled with Jones as his starter, only to replace him with Zappe again after an ugly interception followed by "We Want Zappe" chants from the fans at Gillette Stadium. Zappe didn't fare much better in the 33-14 loss to Chicago and Jones started behind center for the remainder of the season.

Meyers, scheduled to become a free agent in March, has been one of Jones' closest friends on the team over the last two years. Jones advocated for the Patriots to bring him back for 2023 and beyond.

“Jakobi’s one of the best — if not the best — teammates I’ve ever had,” Jones said on Sunday. “He’s a great person. He comes to work every day, doesn’t complain. Does everything right. And he deserves everything that’s coming his way. So, hopefully, it’s with us. Yeah, he means a lot to me.”