INSTANT REACTION: Questions at backup QB after Zappe struggles, Cunningham impresses vs. TexansAug 11, 2023
Alright, welcome to the post-game live event presented by your New England Ford Dealers. The Patriots fell in their first game of the preseason 20-9 against the Houston Texans. We didn't see Mac Jones. We saw a lot of zappy Bailey and we saw a pretty good showing there from Malik Cunningham at the end of the game let Malik Cunningham and let that hype train start right now the over
reactions everything else I'll lead the way uh Tom Giles Ted Johnson Tommy Curran and uh Ted will start with you your Your general thoughts are what you saw tonight. Well, first of all, I was a little surprised to see Bailey's fast play as much as you, maybe not to play, but maybe there was talk that he wouldn't even play if you, you know, Listen to Scott Zolak on 985, sports, so I was a little surprised to see him out there while he was there, I mean, that's a big takeaway for me.
Tom is just Bailey acting zappy, what did you do? I think I'll say this. I wasn't that impressed. You know, the completion percentage is 12 or 14. uh, you know, a couple of sacks, it was just for me. I mean, it was a good taekwon tour with refreshments and by the band, but I just needed it. to see more of Bailey's zappies considering how much he played, I didn't see it, so that's my biggest takeaway besides the defensive line of course, Keon White doing great things, those are my two big takeaways. Bailey zappy coming out now, I think a little. a little disappointing and then that front seven for the defense that you've been hearing about all trade camp, they came out and played considering the Texans were missing some of their starters, they still showed off the defensive line.
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instant reaction questions at backup qb after zappe struggles cunningham impresses vs texans...
Patriots defense at the start of the game was outstanding. I thought they looked great. They were on the offensive end. All zappy acting. I think it comes with countless warnings and I'll definitely delve into that as the game progresses, but I think there's angst in a couple different ones. positions in terms of depth and he showed up tonight and I think we'll get to those as well, but those are my three big takeaways and I think Cunningham will probably dominate some of the conversation towards the later parts of the show deservedly. Well, yeah, I mean, he brought a spark, right?
I mean, for most of this game we were sitting there wondering what they're really going to be able to do and he came out on any play made, even if it was against. He's probably the bottom of the barrel for the Houston Texans defensively, but yeah, he's going to get some attention and I think that's the most important thing, what can we take away on August 9th from a preseason game when the offensive line of The Patriots are Patchwork and the starters are sitting or have taken off their helmets. Now you've seen a quarterback who brings you the dual threat.
He's a developmental player that the Patriots actually brought in and immediately started converting him to wide receiver, but it's still obvious. The running game is different when you have a dual-threat quarterback that they have to guard against. I don't care if it's the fourth quarter of the first preseason game. I don't care if it's the middle of the fourth week of the second. Fourth, when you have a guy who can put him on a running back's belly or run around the rim, it freezes giant inside guys like Ted and makes them think it's hard, it's hard to defend, you know, and this, I thought, the Patriots running.
The game was pretty bad tonight, I mean, you know, the way Malik Cunningham runs the ball just loosens everything up for the pass and run, so the Patriots, you know, I thought it was offensive, their running game was really very bad tonight. get a lot better at, you know, clearing holes for those running backs, but Malik Cunningham comes in there, look again, he could be a, you know, he's a guy that maybe could be a turnaround, probably could be, is he going to be? the third quarterback so you can put him there and if something happens to the first two, it will be interesting to see if he makes this team and then how they use them when he does make this team, yeah, and I mean.
He's not just, you know, you talk about his running skills, but I thought he was pretty good at throwing the ball tonight, yeah, the completionist was Trey Nixon, who dropped the pass in the back of the end zone. , but this is the touchdown, you know? Again, the QB draw, they certainly called a couple of those and it looked good. I mean, you had a run like that from Tom Brady over Brian Urlacher. Once upon a time Boom. The same was the lacquer from him, but he has a completely different speed. Emily Cunningham can do that countless times, I imagine, over the course of a preseason, let alone Tom Brady once every 23 years, so she adds something to her team, which becomes the question we'll have to answer and address as we move forward.
The forward after Malik Cunningham will be fine if he gets a roster spot at quarterback. Do you keep it as a target? Do you keep them as a practice squad player and are you trying to get him to the practice squad? other teams see this type of performance, is anyone else going to draft him during the cut because they have to go through waivers to get to a practice squad? You know, what's stylistically interesting, guys, is looking at Lee Cunningham, he just hits. the way he runs the ball, those are the type of quarterbacks that historically have given Patriots 100 defenses a really tough time.
I mean, it's fun to watch, I mean, you see you're doing well, look, look, maybe that was an eight-yard catch now. all of a sudden it's a 20-yard game and the problem with that is that Bill Belichick, I think, wants quarterbacks because things come on time, the ball comes out and the guys who play football have a backyard mentality where They don't go to their first and Second, they just put it down and start running. You know, Bill doesn't really like to codify that style of quarterback and he finds it very difficult to defend because it's difficult to game plan for a quarterback who goes off script. and so it's a little surprising that, you know, he's never really been...
I'm not looking for a quarterback with those skills so far, but he's an intriguing player who could probably be used in an offense that lacks that. type of dynamic playmaker, the predictability that Bill got used to under Tom Brady that didn't really exist at times through Bledsoe, who could be a gunslinger, you get used to that predictability and that unpredictability that's hard to defend. , you may find it difficult you as a coach have to deal with this on the weekends, but to say this is what it's going to be, we're going to throw the ball on third and four and I don't know what's going to happen, I think it's difficult for a A type of micromanagement control like Bill to understand Bill O'Brien.
However, in my opinion, he is the one who has to understand it first, but he knows it and if he does, he could convince Bill that I didn't mean to interrupt you, Tom. but he knows what to do with those guys because he's covering for him in Houston. I mean, if you look at the first seven games of DeSean Watson's career there in 2017, I mean they had the number one offense in the NFL. knows how to use those type of quarterbacks, um, the type of running threat enough to make the RPO somewhat dangerous and the play action very dangerous, so, um, interesting, yeah, you know, it was good see it arrive. there and show what he could do again.
I just don't think Belichick, at the end of the day, wants to live and die with quarterbacks who throw the ball like that, and while it's fun and exciting to watch, that's not the style of quarterback he really wants to go with, well, I guess So let's talk about the quarterback room as a whole because, again, if they're going to have to make a decision, as he laid out his current one, about whether you stay or not. uh you know Malik Cunningham on the list and by the way, this is the shot. I'm talking about the best throw of the night that goes for a drop in the back of the end zone, but that's a great throw. um flag football, dangerous flag football. receiver though, I'll let you know from Saint Ansel, uh, but go ahead, what do you think of the fact that zappy Bailey played until the second half of the third quarter?
He's a stand-in and I'm not sure Zoe is very well connected, but when he said there's a chance that Bailey's app won't play at all, my
reactionwas good, why in God's name didn't he? would do? He is a
backupquarterback in the NFL entering his second year. He is not a player you are looking for. preserve or B says he has it, so to me you needed your
backupquarterback to play. What worries me about the Patriots quarterback room is that you have an adequate or maybe good NFL starter at the top, you have an inexperienced and sometimes physically exhausted one. match player who has a great mind and is exceptionally accurate and is a good leader.
In my opinion, he is a developmental backup. Malik Cunningham is a year away from being able to do it, in my opinion, and it's early to see if he's going to take some snaps. for us at the NFL level, so what do the Patriots need? I think they need a better, more veteran player, not Brian Hoyer light, but Brian Hoyer, a plus type player, maybe a Case Keenum type for lack of a better example to come in, because if you have a Mac Jones and Bailey application is injured. There are limitations to his game and I'm not discrediting anything he did tonight.
He didn't have much protection. He managed the team well. They went in and out of the Huddle, which is something. I talked about it has to look clean, it has to look sharp and it was, but I think coming into this year the Patriots are going to need a deeper quarterback, well just for example, so if you know if it's Case Keenum as an example . What's happening? I mean, are you still happy with Bailey or yeah, would you put how many quarterbacks they have? At that point, well, that becomes the question if you have him and it also becomes a debate if Malik Cunningham shows the development well, how much are you? are you going to devote yourself to your quarterback room in terms of bodies in terms of roster spots in terms of practice squad um spots are you going to live on the waiver wire all season and say well, if something happens to him to Mac, we will definitely go look for him? case and catch him, so that's probably the most likely way to look at it, but I still think the Patriots are shallow at quarterback, that's what scares me a little bit because they're great, no I do, but I just feel it.
Like you know the ship has already sailed, I just don't, I don't know how you go and get that kind of person right now, I mean, I don't know Case Keenum could be cut and then maybe you bring them in. So you bring them in late, he doesn't. know the system. I mean, you had Brian Hoyer here, he did a good job. I think it was a help for you. You know Matt Jones. You know, the last two years. You let him go, so I don't know what quarterback profile you're talking about, which I love the idea of that quarterback being here, did you have him and Brian or did you let him go to get someone right now? .
I guess I'm not sure. I think he played against Bailey. I think Bailey played only because they need to get him the referees. I just don't know if they feel confident that Mac Jones will stay healthy all year. I mean you. Look at the way the offensive line, yeah, particularly against theirs, I think they played him longer because they really feel like they need him to rest, because what are the chances of Mac Jones staying healthy when you look at this offense? I know four of the five starters weren't there tonight, but I mean, my goodness, if one player gets hurt on that offensive line, the trickle-down effect that you've seen in the past is going to happen again and therefore the offensive line. is obviously one of the most concerning units on this team.
I think I buried my logic a bit. I think the main reason Bailey played happily for so long is because Trace McSorley isn't up to the challenge of running an offense right now for New England. I've never seen a lot of training camp with him, he's had moments, he's had a lot more moments where he's a little inept and I know it's a patchwork offensive line and the Patriots' regular offensive line is Miles better than what we saw today, but I think the drop would have been so significant that you couldn't go, hey, we'll go a quarter with zappy and then two quarters with McSorley because the drop sample found last year, if you remember, was a quarter of Hoyer. you know you're getting reps, you know everyone's getting the same call, you know you might be able to make some progress and then it was fast for a long period this year, there's not a significant drop from two to three.
I'm not even sure there are three you can seriously enter the season with. Do you think they were disappointed in Abby tonight? I don't believe it. I see. Me neither. I think you and I are. Watching Zappy's performance ago it's very disappointing, you know, okay, 12 or 14, but two sacks you know and he just threw the ball away. I just didn't see anything there that excited me that much. I just think he probably said right,you know he didn't throw an interception, he had a high completion percentage and you know they could, they can live with that and that's a little problematic for them to see that and I think Bailey when Tom and I clearly see the limitations in his game.
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