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Transcript: Bailey Zappe Press Conference 12/13

Read the full transcript from Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe's press conference on Wednesday, December 13, 2023.

PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK BAILEY ZAPPE

PRESS CONFERENCE

December 13, 2023

Q: How was the week like coming in after what you guys were able to accomplish in Pittsburgh?

BZ: Yeah, it was good. It was nice to get a few days off, hang out with the family, hang out with the fiancee, the dogs, and everything. Watch football, but ready to get back at it. Ready to get ready for Sunday.

Q: When you reflect on it, what did you like about this performance, and what do you think you can work on going forward from it?

BZ: Yeah, I think we started off fast. We always talk about starting fast as far as an offense, getting ahead early. We were able to do that. The first half and the second half there were some things that I missed as far as reads and throws. You look at the interception, that's something that I can prevent very easily. Just checking it down to Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] instead of forcing it. There's always good and bad, and there's things that I can look back on and hopefully fix this week and go on to the Chiefs game.

Q: What was your reaction to the Malik Cunningham news yesterday?

BZ: Yeah, he's a great teammate. Of course, I was upset that he's not going to be here with us anymore, but I was also excited that he was getting an opportunity somewhere else. I believe he signed up to the 53, so that's a great opportunity for him. I texted him. I wished him all the best and told him to stay in contact. He's a great guy.

Q: Bailey, on Thursday night on the Amazon broadcast, what I heard from you was you were expressing confidence to your college offensive coordinator that you would eventually be the starter here after you were cut. What gave you that confidence at the time that you were able to take that on?

BZ: During that time that was hard. At that moment, getting cut, you don't know what's going to happen in the next 24 hours. So, it was mainly him just giving me confidence and just talking to him back and forth in a private conversation. Just him telling me to get ready to go and anything could happen. I just tried to take it day by day. From that point on, just trying to get better every day. I know that's cliche to say, but just trying to get better.

Q: How do you feel like you've grown since this summer?

BZ: I think there's some things that I've grown as far as the offensive terminology and the way we run the offense operation. I think there's things I can still learn from as far as that – getting to the ball, making the right checks, seeing the right coverages, things like that. There's some things that I felt like I've improved on, but I've talked to OB [Bill O'Brien] every day on certain things that I need to still be better at. So, it's always a learning process every day.

Q: Speaking of Coach [Zach] Kittley, you and Patrick Mahomes have him in common, right?

BZ: Yes.

Q: How often did Patrick Mahomes come up in coaching points for you when you were with him?

BZ: Yeah, he talks about Pat a lot. Pat is one of the top quarterbacks in the league, of course. Kittley was able to coach him whenever he was at Texas Tech. So, there was always certain things that I would mess up and be like, hey Pat tried this, let's try that. It was awesome for him to coach a guy like that and to be able to pick his brain on what Pat used to do and how Pat learned and what Pat used to like. So, it was pretty sweet.

Q: Have you picked Mahomes' brain at all? Have you contacted him at all?

BZ: No, I haven't been able to actually go back and forth and talk football. I think we've met through social media, but nothing crazy in person yet.

Q: What's your overall impression of Mahomes as a quarterback?

BZ: He does a lot of great things. The main thing is that the play is never over with him. He can sit in the pocket and make throws and then if he's able to get out and start getting in scramble mode he can improv with the best of them. That's a great task for the defense. I know they're up for it, but he's probably one of the best quarterbacks in our league right now. It's pretty amazing to watch what he does every game.

Q: What was the extent of meeting him on social media?

BZ: I think it was after our bowl game and he just congrats or something like that. I don't think it was anything crazy. I think we just followed each other. I don't even think we texted, to be honest with you. I think we just followed. I was like, 'Hey, Pat Mahomes followed me'.

Q: Where would you say your self-belief and confidence comes from?

BZ: I guess that just comes from just growing up, and I only had one offer and just always having a chip on my shoulder to kind of prove to everybody that I'm able to play quarterback in this league. I think as far as going into every game, I think it's just as far as the preparation and things you do throughout the week that can lead to that confidence going into the game. The coaches, teammates, they help out a lot as well.

Q: Houston Baptist, right, when you were in your first year, you didn't do as well, but then you rebounded as a sophomore. That's a perfect example.

BZ: Yes, sir.

Q: When you look at the second half film against the Steelers, what did you see that maybe they did or you did that wasn't quite as productive as what you guys were able to do in the first half?

BZ: Yeah, I think it kind of falls on me. I was missing a few throws. I wasn't sitting in the pocket as much as I was in the first half. I was kind of getting antsy. Those are things that I want to fix throughout this week, pocket drills before and after practice and just trying to clean some of those things up. It's nothing that –  they're a great defense – but it's things that for us, that we can fix moving into this week.

Q: Your numbers against the blitz have been pretty good the last couple of weeks. Bill O'Brien mentioned the Chiefs blitz a lot. Obviously, they do. What kind of keys are there to preparing for a blitz-happy defense like theirs?

BZ: Yeah, just watching a lot of film, understanding what they like to do. They do a lot of things. I think a lot of it just comes down to the communication between me and DA [David Andrews] and the offensive line, trying to get all on the same page. As long as we're on the same page, everything will hopefully go well. You're just trying to believe in the offensive line that they're going to pick up the pressures, whatever they bring, and just being able to stand back there confidently and just take care of the football and throw the open guys and let them make plays.

Q: Some of your teammates talked about the command you had in the huddle – Ezekiel [Elliott] was one, immediately after the game on Thursday. When you step into the huddle, what do you want your teammates to see in you? What do you want them to sense or feel when you come out on the field?

BZ: The biggest thing is confidence in the play itself. Walking in there and speaking confidently, speaking fluently of the play, making sure everybody's on the same page. If everybody else sees that you're confident in the play, they're going to be confident in the play. If all 11 guys are confident in that play, then it's a high percentage that that play is going to work. I think that's the biggest thing for me. Just right off the bat, walking in there, understanding what the alerts are, making sure everybody's on the same page, and getting to the line, and then re-starting the communication as far as my points and what plays we want to get to.

Q: On Monday, you mentioned that you were not a Swiftie. Have you listened to any since then in preparation for the game?

BZ: Okay, so, listen to the whole quote. I said I'm not not a fan. I used to be a fan. I'm a country guy. I listen to country music. She used to be country. There was times where, of course, Taylor Swift's country songs came on. I'd listen to it. Now she's moved over to pop. I'm not a pop guy. So, I'm a fan. I just don't listen to that type of music. So, just to clear that up in there.

Q: Because of your criticism, you're getting nervous?

BZ: No, it'll be pretty exciting to have her here. I know she loves being here at Gillette. I'm sure that's exciting for her to come back here.

Q: There was a moment when Joe Montana pointed to the crowd and said 'there's John Candy'.

BZ: Wasn't that before his game-winning drive?

Q: Yes. So, will you be in that situation where you say, 'Hey, look, that's Taylor Swift. Let's go out there and do something?'

BB: If the moment comes, I might.

Q: Did you get any negative feedback from what you said on the radio about Taylor that might have been misconstrued?

BZ: Not to my knowledge. But I have to clear it up, you never know on social media. I'm just making sure everybody understands I am a fan.

Q: Bailey, you mentioned David Andrews a little bit earlier in the show. How much has he helped you in terms of your overall growth and development, particularly this season?

BZ: He's helped a lot. Of course, he's been in the league for, I think, nine or ten years now. He's seen everything that you could possibly see as far as fronts, as far as pressures. There's always things that I go up and ask him, 'Hey, what are you looking for? If it's over front, under front, diamond front, what things are you kind of looking at'? So, just always picking his brain. Always learning the whole aspect of what the defense is trying to do against us. It's awesome to pick his brain. I know he's learned from other guys as far as Dante Scarnecchia and Tom [Brady] and all those guys. There's things that he's learned that I've never been taught. So, just always picking his brain and just kind of seeing how he sees things and just trying to see the whole aspect of what the defense is trying to do against our offense.

Q: I thought it was interesting that [Jahlani] Tavai used the phrase, when talking about Matthew Slater, that he never wants to let him down. I was wondering if there's any sort of maybe that same feeling there with you when it comes to working with a guy like David?

BZ: Yeah, 100%. He's been here for a while. He's won a lot. For me as a young guy, I want to do everything I can to help the team win as a whole and not let everybody down. That's my goal, to do my job and go in there and try to help us win games.

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