Bailey Zappe’s offensive coordinator at Houston Baptist University and Western Kentucky University sold a paradoxical credo throughout the whole of Bailey’s time as a player at both institutions.
Zach Kittley, who is currently the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, was quoted as saying this to Yahoo Sports: “I don’t believe in flawless play calls.”
“You’re competing against some extremely excellent instructors that are out there. They are going to provide you with something different from what you anticipate.
Kittley Believed Quarterbacks Should Adjust Certain Plays
Kittley held the belief that quarterbacks could and should alter some of the calls made at the line of scrimmage.
So, he rejoiced when Zappe checked out of a run play to complete a passing touchdown, and he also laughed when Zappe understanding of a starter play call.
It could just as easily have been considered a starter, given the quarterback’s freedom to change direction prompted him to wave off his coordinator in the middle of a signal. Zappa’s understanding of the starter play call allowed him to execute a passing touchdown.
Zappe, Kittley got it, and she was already prepared for what was about to happen. And he thought that the more the coach could give the player the authority to behave appropriately, the better prepared Zappe would be for the NFL in the long run.
When we fast forward to last Sunday, the quarterback who was selected in the fourth round and was considered “undraftable” by some talent evaluators 14 months ago, completed 17 of 21 pass attempts for 188 yards, a touchdown. and an interception.
And generated a passer rating of 100.0 as the New England Patriots won his first start in the National Football League (NFL).
Productive Running Game, Suffocating Defense
Without a doubt, a productive running game and a stifling defensive effort were beneficial. However, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not minimize the importance of Zappa’s contribution.
After the Patriots’ victory against the Lions, which ended with a score of 29-0, head coach Bill Belichick said, “He seemed confident out there.”
“He does a terrific job of observing the game and can walk off the field and recognize and express what occurred, and that is typically correct.
The things that he noticed are often the same things that I saw, or when you look at the picture, maybe there’s something a little bit gray in there that his explanation is excellent for. That was how he interpreted the situation.
“He may not have acted most ethically, but he understood the game,” Patriots supporters are now waiting to find out how long he will continue to start games while Mac Jones is out with an injury. Those who are close to Zappe, though, have seen this story before.
The Lamborghini Keys
Robert Kraft saw Zappe in the locker room on Sunday and praised his two games. Zappe relieved Brian Hoyer at Lambeau Field and completed 10-of-15 throws for 99 yards and a score. Kraft praised the rookie’s composure.
I wanted to inform you after seeing it last week. A zero-star recruit whose first four years of college football were in the FCS has managed to diagnose a game so early in his NFL career.
Zappe improved his productivity and completion rate each season at Houston Baptist. He threw 50 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in his last two years. Zappe threw 567 yards and four touchdowns against Texas Tech in 2020.
HBU, 41.5-point underdogs, fell 35-33. Scouts and his agent Nicole Lynn liked Zappa’s “slinging.” Senior Bowl exec Jim Nagy was more realistic about Zappa’s draft chances. Nagy said there were competition-level worries.
“He played well against Texas Tech, but that’s not much. So, I assume he would have been undrafted. Zappe transferred to Western Kentucky with his COVID-granted eligibility year, where Kittley coordinated.
Zappe broke an 18-year-old NCAA passing record after moving from FCS to FBS. His 62 touchdowns in 14 games broke Joe Burrow’s 60-year-old NCAA record (in 15 games). Zappe excelled against Indiana and No. 17 Michigan State.
He completed more than 70% of his throws each game and had no interceptions. NFL scouts praised Zappe’s reflexes, anticipation, and awareness. Zappe wanted folks who thought he was a college product to know he wasn’t bragging.
Kittley claims he threw a 35-yard touchdown on “shark flip bee buzz pop lakers throw 90 switches.” Zappe revealed at the NFL scouting combine in March that Kittley handed him the Lamborghini keys.
“I could check in and out of plays as I saw fit, depending on what the defense was doing. I believe it applies to the NFL because of my game understanding. Reading defenses and seeing what they’re doing pre-snap will benefit me throughout my NFL career.
Zappe was questioned whether “game manager” was a compliment. “100%,” he added, adding an odd postscript. Tom Brady is the finest game manager.
Even If Mac Jones Is Well, Might Bailey Zappe Take the Helm
When the Patriots picked Zappe in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL draft, league commentators queried why a year after picking Jones 15th overall.
Matt Groh’s comments sounded like coachspeak. “You better have another nice one or two or three coming up,” Groh stated on April 30. “You never know when they’re required. If you’re short, you’re in trouble.”
Trouble came in five months. Jones sprained his ankle on Sept. 25 against the Ravens, and Hoyer concussed on Oct. 2 against Green Bay. Zappa’s third-string team lost 27-24. Belichick and his teammates praised Zappe’s decision-making and execution against the Lions.
Coaches say Jones is striving to return for this week’s game against Cleveland but have no timetable. Zappe has a 104.7 net passer rating vs Jones’ 76.2. Jones has one score and five interceptions compared to Zappa’s two touchdowns and one interception.
Small, uncontrolled samples. Belichick didn’t name a healthy Jones the starter Monday. Belichick praised Zappe’s man-to-zone coverage modifications on Boston radio station WEEI. “That wastes my time. I won’t imagine situations. We’ll see what happens.”
Jones “wasn’t active” against the Lions, so a decision hasn’t been made. Zappe also takes events in stride. He praised his offense, weapons, and defense.
Football Outsiders gives the Patriots a 28.4% probability of making the playoffs, although that jumped 7.9% with Zappa’s victory. The defense, run game, and Zappe doing enough against the Lions, and it may again this weekend against the Browns. Zappe remains calm. “Take your chance,” he advised. “Improving daily”