PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK BAILEY ZAPPE
December 20, 2023
Q: Bailey, this was a Denver defense early in the season. Everyone saw they gave up 70. It seems like they're turning around. What have you seen as part of their turnaround?
BZ: Yeah, I mean they're a great all-around defense. Coached well, you know, D-line's good. Linebacker group's good. Their back end's good. So, to me, it's really up to us to execute what we're trying to attack. You know, just all on the same page. Communicate well and just try to go out there and play football.
Q: What do you guys go out there for? What's it like as a team? What have you guys said amongst each other knowing that it's Christmas Eve night and you're flying during Christmas to come home and be with your families? What's that like for all of you guys?
BZ: You know, you're playing a Prime-time game so everybody's excited for it. You know, we're playing for ourselves right now. We're just trying to go out there and compete as a team, play as a team, and try to come back on Christmas Day with a win. We're going to try to do everything we can to do so. Like I said, Broncos are a good team. They're going to throw a lot of things at us that we just have to be ready to go play good.
Q: Do you have any experience of playing in these kind of high altitude settings and have your teammates been giving you tips on kind of how to prepare for it?
BZ: Yeah, first I've never played anything like that. So, I'm sure I'll be asking a few of the guys what they did. You know, what the changes are, what the big difference is. Just trying to pick their brain on it, but personally I've never had it.
Q: For you personally, what are you trying to prove the remaining three games of the season?
BZ: Yeah, for me personally, I think it's important for me to put a full game together. First halves been great. Second halves haven't been so good. So, I think if I'm able to go out there and execute and run the offense the way it's supposed to be run for two halves, I think we'll score a lot more points. So that directly reflects on me doing my job well and then that relates to everybody else. So, I think that's for me, that's what I want to do.
Q: I know there are a lot of quarterbacks out there who give their offensive line some sort of gift around the holidays, put you on the spot. Do you plan on giving them any sort of gift? If so, what do you think of it?
BZ: Yeah, I got a gift coming. I don't want to ruin the surprise. It's not crazy, but I'm giving a gift for everybody.
Q: I saw you interacting with David and had him on the shoulder. 'You're a good guy.' Can you put into words what he means to this team and his leadership and accountability?
BZ: Yeah, he's a true patriot. I put him up there with [Matthew] Slater and all those guys. He's the captain's captain. Anything you ever need on and off the field, you can always ask him questions. That's something that he's done for me. I always ask him as far as football knowledge. He's been wonderful for me and everything that I've learned from him. I think he's just great for the O-line room as well, the veteran aspect of everything. To be honest, he's just a great guy and a great football player. I like being behind him and taking snaps from him.
Q: Could you grow a beard like that?
BZ: No, I cannot. This is like two months going. (Points to stubble under his chin)
Q: You've had a few days to assess some of these games. Is there anything that you can pinpoint for what's happening in the first half versus the second half? Why you haven't been able to be as efficient or productive as the guys?
BZ: Yeah, I think a little bit of it is just continuing to go through the system. Do what the coaches are teaching you to do and what they're coaching us to do throughout the whole week. As far as going right to left, one high, two high, things like that. Just going through your reads and taking the first up on a guy and not trying to make a play. Just not forcing anything, just playing within the system. As long as you do that, the system has been great for however many years. I just got to follow the system.
Q: Bailey, we've seen Coach O'Brien, and maybe this is a question for him, but after you throw those interceptions in the last two games, go a little bit run heavy. Do you feel any kind of pressure? Obviously, you never want to throw an interception, but understanding, 'my leash might get pulled back a little bit if I do turn the ball over'. Do you see it differently?
BZ: No, I don't see that. I think a lot of it is situational stuff that's happened. Things like that happen, like versus the Steelers. We wanted to kind of get the run going and everything. I don't see it as, 'I throw an interception, oh wait, my leash is going to get pulled up'. I don't think so. I think it's just as far as what he wants to do and try to get the running game going, try to get [Ezekiel Elliott] Zeke going. It just so happens that right before that, I throw an interception. I don't see it as him pulling the leash back or anything.
Q: Bailey, I know the team announced they signed Nathan Rourke. Do you know him at all, have you seen him play, and do you have any advice for him as somebody who's now joining this team at quarterback?
BZ: Yeah, I've heard of him, of course. I've never met him in person until today. He's a great guy, picked his brain a little bit on things that they did over there, how different it is from the Jaguars system to our system. I'll just continue to pick his brain. He's seen different things than I've seen. Just try to help him out as much as possible, because I know it's hard to come learn that system and then come learn a totally new system. So, try to help him out as much as possible and try to help him out with the Patriot way.
Q: What's it been like being in the quarterback room? I mean, you guys have gone through a lot of change in the past two weeks, losing both Malik [Cunningham] and Will [Grier], and now bringing Nathan. How do you kind of stay on top of it all with all this change?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, I think the group is – of course we've lost a few guys – but we've stayed pretty solid together. Everybody wants to win and everybody's helping each other out, no matter who's out there playing. OB [Bill O'Brien] and Evan [Rothstein] have done a great job of keeping us all on the same page. Personally, for me, I've never felt any change. Of course, those guys leaving, but it's been the same vibe the whole year, and that's just try to go out there and do everything you can to win.
Q: Bailey, how much individual time do you get with OB and Evan versus when you're meeting all together as an offense?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, I try to get some every day, either before or after practice. Of course, we have our set meetings together, but whether it's early in the morning or late at night after practice, I try to go in either Evan's office or OB's office whenever they're not in staff meetings and try to just ask questions as far as what they're thinking on reads and things like that.
Q: What sort of impact has Evan had on your development as a quarterback?
BZ: He's had a lot. I just pick his brain, because he's been in the league for a while, so he's been with guys like Matthew Stafford. So, just picking his brain on how Matt used to do things and what he used to like, what he didn't like. Evan's really good as far as situational stuff and understanding what to do when it's third and five on your own four-yard line, like what is the percentages. I mean, he's really good at that stuff. I think as far as the whole football aspect, he's really helped me a lot with learning everything about the game, and not just the quarterback position.
Q: Now with a couple games under your belt, do you have a better understanding of Billy O, and what he's looking to do, and how much on the same page are you with him and seeing what he wants to do and putting that out to the football field?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, the more games that I play and the more games that he calls and I'm out there, of course we're going to continue to grow together and get closer and closer. But, it's been great. He's open to everything that I see, and of course I'm open to everything that he wants to run, and he's calling great games. It's just up to me as a quarterback just to go out there and execute. But, we have a great relationship off the field, and the more that we're on the field in practice and games, it'll continue to grow on the field.
Q: I think there was a video of you and Billy O kind of hugging after the Steelers win, but just what kind of coach is he, and what have you noticed about him?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, he's a great coach. He's one that when things are going good, and you do something successful, he's going to be the first one to applaud you and let you know that you're succeeding and everything. But, then he's going to be the first one to let you know that you're doing something wrong, and he's the same guy every day. He comes to work, same person every day. He's never going to be in a mood. He's never anything like that. So, that's something that I love about him. He's just the same guy, and that's kind of how I like to be. I want to be the same guy. I mean, I always tell him, 'Look, I like to be coached hard. I want you to let me know when I'm screwing up. Let me know what I need to fix every day'. So, he does that, and I love it about him. Me and him have really hit it off and really continued to grow our relationship over the last few weeks.
Q: Have you seen the teapot version of him?
BZ: Nope, I have not yet. I don't know what you're talking about, teapot.