QUARTERBACK BAILEY ZAPPE
PRESS CONFERENCE December 5, 2023
Q: What did you learn from Sunday and what can you take into Thursday now with that next start?
BZ: Yeah. There were some missed reads by me, some missed throws by me, better ball placement, things like that. So, just been working on that stuff as much as possible today and tomorrow, and before we head off and try to get ready for Thursday.
Q: Is it hard to work on those things on such a short week?
BZ: I guess so, because you don't get as much physical reps. It's more mental. But, we try as much as possible – like before or after walk-throughs, or whatever we do – try to go out there and throw as much as possible. Whether it's just walking through or just standing there, just try to throw the ball around.
Q: Bailey, you sound a little hoarse, are you sick at all?
BZ: No, I got a little hoarse after the game. I was screaming at everything, trying to make sure everybody could hear me out there.
Q: When you look back at the tape, what are some things that you think you did better upon review? You mentioned there are things you want to try and improve upon, is there anything positive that you didn't expect to see?
BZ: I would say the operation as a whole was pretty well by the offense. We never really had any questions about the plays or anything like that. We got in the huddle, we broke the huddle, we got to the line and we were rolling. So, I think the operation, of course I think there was two or three instances where we could fix moving on to the next game, but other than that I think it was pretty solid.
Q: Regarding the pre-snap operation Bailey, how much more comfortable are you and confident are you with alerts, making the pre-snap reads and adjustments that you need to do? There's a lot on the quarterback in the offense.
BZ: I feel like I get more and more confident every week. The more that I watch film of the opponent, that also helps. You know, just the preparation throughout the week. Understanding why we're alerting, why we're killing to plays like that. That always helps. It's a short week, you know, that's all we have to do now, is just mental reps. So, that's really what I'm diving into right now.
Q: Bailey, I noticed in the second half that you took a lot of shots, specifically to DeVante Parker. I was wondering in terms of that connection is that the kind of thing that if you see him 1-on-1, you have the freedom to take those opportunities or were there times where you felt like you maybe locked in on him when there were other opportunities on other parts of the field?
BZ: Yeah, that was something that, going into halftime, we talked about that the second half we wanted to push the ball down the field a little bit and we have some guys that can get those 50/50 balls. DP [DeVante Parker] is one of those guys where you kind of put it up anywhere and he has the opportunity to go up and get it. So does Tyquan [Thornton] and so does really everybody else. I think that was kind of our mindset, we just wanted to attack down the field going into the second half. Kind of like you said, if it's 1-on-1, I kind of like my guy better than their guy. So, I'm just going to let them go get it.
Q: Bailey, have you officially been told that you will be starting on Thursday?
BZ: Coach has made it pretty clear, but I'll let him announce it to everybody. That's private right now. Whenever he announces it, that's with him.
Q: What would you say you learned about yourself this season?
BZ: A lot. A lot of things that I can grow on, a lot of things that I can improve on, but like we like to say around here, just taking it day-by-day and it's very cliché to say that, but every day there's something you can get better at. Whether it's mental things or physical things, throwing and stuff like that, there's always ways to get better and that's kind of how I do it.
Q: Sunday was your first start of the season. How much did the opportunity mean to you, especially given not being here on cut day?
BZ: It's been a long ride, of course, so to be out there was an amazing opportunity. We didn't get the result that we wanted, so hopefully we can learn from it, grow from it going into Thursday and do everything that I can do put the team in the best possible situation to win the game.
Q: We heard you say on WEEI yesterday, you confirmed you had multiple offers. Getting this opportunity to start for the Patriots, does this feel like you kind of made that right decision to stick around?
BZ: Yeah, 100%. This is the place I wanted to be. I wanted to play for OB [Bill O'Brien]. I wanted to play for Coach Belichick, and I wanted to play with the guys that I've built a relationship with over the last year and a half, two years. So, this is where I wanted to be.
Q: What is the – frustration might not be the right word – but where are you at where you guys feel like you do a lot of good things in the games, just breaking that barrier and starting to put that ball in the end zone and get points, how close do you feel guys are as a unit to doing that?
BZ: Yeah, we're close. We talk about that a lot. It's just one or two things that happen that kind of alter you from scoring, and once we've just got to fix those one or two things. And, once we do that, I feel like we'll start being able to start putting points on the board.
Q: Obviously, you guys want to win and do what's best for the team. But, how do you look at these next few weeks just for you, with your future in the NFL and what it means for that?
BZ: I mean, nobody really is asking any questions when you start winning. So, as long as we just go out there and do the best that we can, put points on the board as far as an offense and start winning as a team, I think that will all kind of handle itself.
Q: The fact that you're up at the podium today, there's not as much uncertainty from a public perspective as to who is the guy right now. How much does that kind of help you embrace that role?
BZ: Yeah, that helps. I'll wait for the official announcement from Coach, but you know, I try to prepare every week like I'm the guy, so nothing different for me.
Q: How much does it help you improve that, from start to finish in the last game, you were under center the whole time, and now going into this week of preparation and meetings, film, practice, what time you guys have before you leave for Pittsburgh, that you're the guy who's leading the offense at quarterback?
BZ: I mean, of course it's different, but you've got to approach every week like Coach always says, everybody has to be ready to play. So, you have to be ready no matter what. You have to prepare like you're going to be thrown in there, whether it's the second play or whether it's the last play. So, that's kind of the mentality that we have here. No matter what's going on, just prepare to play.
Q: What time was it when you first started looking at the Steelers?
BZ: Probably Sunday night was when I kind of looked back at their Cardinals game.
Q: Like 11?
BZ: Probably like 4:30 in the morning, I don't know. Sometime after our game.
Q: How about playing there, in that atmosphere? David [Andrews] was talking about it. Road game, in Pittsburgh, Thursday night, how much are you looking forward to the atmosphere?
BZ: I was able to be there last year, of course I was inactive last year, so I got to kind of see it from an outside view, kind of like a fan view, and it was pretty awesome. That field [Acrisure Stadium], it's pretty legendary. So, the Steelers organization is an awesome organization. They've been good for a long time, so if you've ever played them at their place, it's pretty unreal.
Q: What are those conversations like with Bill O'Brien on the sideline during the game? I know you said yesterday on the radio that your relationship with him has grown a lot over these last couple of months.
BZ: Yeah, I mean, it's kind of back and forth. Whatever he sees, he lets me know. If I'm seeing something on the field that if they've showed it on film, haven't shown it on film, I'm kind of giving him that, just throwing stuff off each other's brains. The majority of the time, it's after the series. We're looking at the tablets, if I missed a read or miss a coverage, he shows me what I can look at better or what tendencies that they're showing that could kind of help me pre-snap. So, it's just kind of dissecting the previous drive and kind of moving on to what we're going to do on the next drive.
Q: What do you feel like your comfort level is throwing to JuJu [Smith-Schuster] and [DeVante] Parker and some of those guys that maybe you didn't have as many reps with over the summer at times?
BZ: I'm comfortable with those guys, 100 percent. They're great players, and it makes it easy for a quarterback. You put it really anywhere, and those guys are going to make a play on it. So, those guys are good receivers and I'm excited to be throwing to those guys.
Q: How do you go about handling the pressure and not making something too big or that it becomes a hinderance?
BZ: Yeah, I mean, control what you can control. So, that's what we say around here, I guess. I'm not really big into those things. I'm really cool, calm and collected. That's kind of how my dad brought me up, how my mom brought me up. So, I don't really try to dive into trying to over-prove myself or anything like that. I try to control what I can control, and whatever my read is, I try to do my read. And, if something happens and I make a mistake, I try to go back and learn from it. I try to really not dive into it and ride the rollercoaster, I just try to stay level.