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Bailey Zappe says there is nothing awkward about Patriots' quarterback room: "I'm having fun"

Bailey Zappe says there's no awkwardness in Patriots' quarterback room
Bailey Zappe says there's no awkwardness in Patriots' quarterback room 01:38

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have a crowded quarterback room heading into the 2024 NFL season, with four players competing to be the team's starter come Week 1. Third-year quarterback Bailey Zappe remains in the mix, but is seemingly fighting for his job this summer after New England signed veteran Jacoby Brissett and drafted both Drake Maye and Joe Milton III in the offseason.

Brissett is the leader in the clubhouse to be the team's starter out of the gate, and Maye is the future. Milton's big arm has made him an intriguing prospect that should turn a lot of heads in training camp.

And then there is Zappe, who started six games for New England after Mac Jones was benched last season. Head coach Jerod Mayo has said everyone will get a chance to win the job this summer, and that has held true throughout OTAs. But he also said recently that the team wants to get its QB room down to three before training camp, and Zappe could be the odd-man out in the end.

That could make the QB room a little awkward this summer, with four guys fighting to not only prove they should be the starter, but  also trying show they belong in the mix as backups. 

But on Wednesday, Zappe said that is not the case. Far from it, in fact.

"I've been having fun, y'all," Zappe told reporters after Wednesday's OTA in Foxboro. "They bring in guys every year obviously. They want everybody to compete and that's what they've been telling us this entire time. Everyone is going to get an opportunity to compete. 

"Like [coach] Mayo says, it depends on what you do with that opportunity," said Zappe. 

While the quarterback competition is well underway, no one is giving anyone the cold shoulder. All four quarterbacks are in this together, and are there for each other every step of the way.

"Everybody is there to help everyone out," said Zappe, who admitted there was some awkwardness when the quarterbacks met each other for the first time. "Once you get to know each other, you understand everyone has the same common goal, and that's to win games. There is only one guy who can be the starter, and all the other guys are going to help him no matter what.

"We all love ball and we all want to win. That's the conversation. There hasn't been any true awkwardness," Zappe added. "Right now it's running smooth and it's a great quarterback room."

Brissett signed an $8 million contract to rejoin the Patriots and take over as the team's starter, giving Maye some time to acclimate to the NFL game. But the veteran understands that it's an open competition, and if Maye or Zappe or Milton beat him out in training camp, he's OK with that. If that happens, he'll be there to help the team in other ways.

"I'm a teammate. Competition shouldn't take away from anything I do on the field," Brissett said Wednesday. "The best players are going to play. If that's me -- I hope it is. If not, I have to find a way to do my job and serve this team."

"It's great to have Jacoby around," Zappe said of his veteran teammate. "It's only been a month but I've learned a lot from him. Just picking his brain as far as footwork and how he reads concepts. I'm probably getting annoying but I'm going to keep doing it. It's been great.

"It's nice to have an old – he's not old, but older than me – guy in the room," Zappe said. "We're all still young in terms of starting games. To have a guy who has started [48] games is great to lean on."

The competition will only heat up as the summer does, but it seems like all four quarterbacks enjoy leaning on each other right now. And there is time for some "friendly" competition as well, as the quarterbacks are trying to best one another when making warmup throws into nets on the field.

"There's been a little smack talk going on. We keep count," said Zappe. "I think I'm winning, but I'm sure everyone else will have their own opinion on it."

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