PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK BAILEY ZAPPE
January 4, 2024
Q: It looks like this game might be played in the snow. Is that presenting some special challenges for you?
BZ: I wouldn't say so. It'd be either my first or second time playing in the snow, so it'll be exciting. I'm from Texas. We don't really play in snow very much, so it's going be fun. It's going to be a great environment, last game, try to end the year out strong. So, I'm ready for it.
Q: What's it meant to your professional development to be able to work with a guy like David [Andrews]?
BZ: It's been awesome, I think he's helped me a lot as far as just understanding a lot of things that I didn't know coming in. There's a lot of things that now I understand as far as fronts and linebacker placements. If this guy is in a five-technique, six-technique, nine-technique, things like that, that I can ask him, that he's learned over the course of his ten years that he's been in the league. That's just something that, you know, as I continue on, I'm going to continue to learn, continue to 'Okay, this is their tendency, maybe I can assume this is going to happen and be alert for this'. So, it's been nice to have somebody like him that's been in the league for so long and been so good for so long.
Q: Aside from the football prep this week, Bailey, how would you just describe that sense of it being the last game of the season? What the locker room is like kind of knowing you guys are breaking up after this game?
BZ: Yeah, we've continued the same message of playing for each other. We understand that in the NFL, not everybody's going to be on the team next year. People are going to be in different spots. So, this is going to be the last game that all these guys on the same team are going to be together. So, I think that's something that's setting in. And, I think going into Sunday, we're going to have a kind of energy of 'we're going to play for one another and kind of go out there and try to put something together'.
Q: With all of the speculation surrounding Bill Belichick's job security, does that give you any extra motivation to play hard for him and go out on a high note?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, like LG said, I don't really feed into the whole speculation. It's just another game for us. We're preparing like it's just another game. It just so happens to be the last game of the year. So, it's kind of getting more attention, I guess. But, we're preparing like we usually do and just getting ready for the Jets.
Q: Watching you the last few weeks, when things start to break down, the ability to demonstrate, to get out of the pocket with your eyes downfield and make plays, was there a breakthrough time for you in your career to be able to maintain your poise in situations like that and scan downfield? Or is that just something that, you know, you've always felt has been a strength as a quarterback?
BZ: Yeah, I felt like, going back to high school, I either did it a lot in the offseason or it kind of just happened. Because a lot of it – you don't just sit back there and be like, watching the rush, 'Okay, this is what I'm going to do'. A lot of it is improvising, and a lot of it is what you do before practice, after practice. Like what we do here with Evan [Rothstein], we get in before and after practice for pocket presence and things like that. That just carries over because you want it to be second nature. You don't want to sit back there looking at the rush. Because you play defensive lines like the Jets this week. I mean, they got some dudes coming up here. So, if you spend too much time looking at them, it's less time you're looking down the field and that's when mistakes happen. So, just continue to work on it. You're never going to be perfect at it. So, just continue and get better as much as you can.
Q: Thinking back to your career, what was the other game that maybe had some snow if there was one?
BZ: I mean, I don't think, what is it saying, like six inches of snow? Right? I think we had flurries. I think it was like snowflakes coming down.
Q: When was it?
BZ: I think it was at Western [Kentucky]. It was 35 degrees. Which here, is like summer. So, I'll be fine.
Q: Did you break your way through it?
BZ: Oh yeah, I was just fine. I think we played FAU and they were a Florida team, so they had all kinds of cold gear. I was like guys 'this is nothing', you know?
Q: Deatrich [Wise Jr.] was saying yesterday that, you know, this one is the opportunity, your last opportunity to put something good on tape, on film. How important is it for you to go out there and have a good game, lead your team to victory, knowing it's the last game of the regular season?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, it's always important to win. As a quarterback, that's what you're based off of, that's what you're judged off of. So, for me personally, of course, that's the main goal is to go out there and win. But, you know, as a personal thing, you know, correcting some of the mistakes that I've made over the last few weeks and kind of tying it all together as the last game to kind of show like, 'Hey, this guy's, you know, he's understanding it, his experience goes by, he's getting it.' So, that's something that throughout the practices the next two days and then going to the game, for me, that's something that I kind of want to show. And then, of course, win. I mean, everybody loves winning. Everybody's happy when we win. So, it's going to be tough. Jets are great on defense. So, we just got to execute and, you know, play Patriot football.
Q: On the last year, so many things have changed since the beginning of the season. How do you grade your performance and your progression from, let's say, September?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, it's come a long way, I guess. Still learning, still fixing a lot of things. I'm never going to be in a situation where I think that, you know, 'Hey, I'm done. I don't have to fix anything.' But, I mean, I'm always going to view myself as somebody that, you know, 'I need to continue to fix this, continue to work on that.' So, I'm always going to keep trying to improve. Always going to keep trying to help the team win games for as long as I'm here. So, I mean, I think every game and every day I'm looking at it to improve and try to get better every day.
Q: How much better are you now than the player who was, for instance, at Green Bay when you guys went for the intersquad work?
BZ: I would say, of course, there's definitely things that I've improved on, of course, throughout experience and this being my eighth start. So, as experience goes by and games go by, of course, you start learning things. You start seeing things. The game kind of starts slowing down for you. But, I mean, I would say there's a vast improvement. But there's a lot of things that I have definitely improved on since then that I wish, of course, I knew then. But now I know, so I'm glad that I figured it out. I'm ready to kind of improve on that this week again and get ready for the Jets.