clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 Questions with Pats Pulpit: Building the ultimate McCorkle Zappy

We sit down with our rival sister site for 5 meaty questions about next Monday night’s opponent.

NFL: New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns
Pew pew... yeoch. Backup New England Quarterback zapping the Cleveland Browns into submission last week in Ohio.

The Chicago Bears feel ready for a bounce-back win and N’Keal Harry is poised to be healthy just in time for the ultimate revenge game. Let’s see how New England Patriots’ fan Taylor Kyles is feeling about the state of that forgettable franchise.

1. The Patriots offense has arguably worked better with Bailey Zappe under center. What has he done well that has helped the offense out? More importantly, if you were to make a Frankenquarterback with the best traits of the two quarterbacks named McCorkle Zappy, what would that look like? An infographic is not required but I don’t think anyone would complain if you made one.

Sadly my Adobe Premier trial just expired, but I’ll do my best to compensate!

The Patriots certainly looked better with Zappe under center, but that’s largely due to a more conservative scheme and better execution from the offense overall.

Mac Jones was asked to execute a scheme that used minimal play-action or screens, instead relying on straight dropbacks, downfield attempts, and rarely keeping extra blockers in to protect. This resulted in one of the league’s most explosive, albeit inconsistent offenses through the first three weeks of the season. Still, McCorkle accounted for inexcusable turnovers in each of those games as the offense searched for its identity.

My Frankenquarterback would be Mac Jones with Bailey Zappe’s aversion to turnover-worthy plays. Jones is the more talented quarterback and I don’t think it’s close, as much as I respect Zappe for his maturity and grit. Jones is a leader in the locker room and walked into the league as one of its more accurate passers. But he needs to reign in the risk-taking and occasionally poor post-snap execution.

2. The Bears quarterback is still learning the ropes, having just played in his 17th NFL game last week. Bellichick is notorious for scheming defenses that confound, stifle, and or humiliate young quarterbacks. What do you think he’ll do to fluster Fields?

On early downs, we’ll likely see a good amount of zone to take away downfield options and keep eyes in the backfield for Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery.

But in passing situations, expect man coverage to test Fields’ accuracy and blitzes to test his decision-making. The Patriots have been formidable 1v1 this season, even with rookie corners Jack Jones (a turnover machine still honing his aggression) and Marcus Jones (undersized but explosive and versatile) seeing significant snaps lately.

3. What’s in the water in New England that makes DBs perform so well? How is 4th round rookie Jack Jones playing better than JC Jackson this season? Is there a fountain that Kyler Gordon can drink from while he’s visiting?

To answer your last question...I’m still waiting on word from my inside source. Will update you when I receive confirmation.

To answer your first question, Belichick is a former DB coach with an excellent eye for players who fit what their scheme. He wants to be able to match up in man while being tough and stout against the run. He also likes players with top-notch work ethics, versatility, professionalism, and intelligence. When you look at the Patriots; DB room, those boxes are being checked left and right.

I kinda cheated and already gushed about the rookies, but I’ll go further in-depth on Jack Jones. He’s got rare confidence, ball skills, and swagger. He’s a big talker who will let you know when he makes a play, but he’s also been burned on double-moves at least once a game without being targeted, He also needs to be more patient at the top of routes to avoid flipping his hips too early.

Safety Devin McCourty is the leader of the DB room as its oldest-tenured player. He can play any spot in the defensive backfield and is a tremendous leader as one of the most consistent defenders Belichick has ever had.

Box/robber safety Adrian Phillips is incredibly tough, can line up everywhere, and is beloved by the organization and fan base.

Human stick of dynamite/safety Kyle Dugger is an All-Pro in waiting. He came from a DII school and immediately established himself as one of the league’s most violent and explosive playmakers. He’s having a breakout season as a box safety and pseudo-linebacker in New England’s lighter packages.

Jonathan Jones is their fastest and best corner, as well as the second-oldest-tenured player. Despite being a slot corner for most of his career, he’s moved outside to replace J.C. Jackson and continued to be a tough, game-changing presence despite being undersized for the position.

Jalen Mills was much-maligned out of Philly for his over-aggressiveness and penchant for giving up big plays. But the veteran has credited Belichick with boosting his football IQ and situational awareness. That mentorship has turned him into a competitive and reliable outside corner, despite being projected as a depth safety/corner upon joining the team.

Slot Myles Bryant is their least athletically-wowing CB, but he is smart, physical, and typically does his job.

Sorry to ramble, but this is just an awesome group.

4. The Patriots are 3 and 3, but the Dolphins basically cheat in every early home game with the difference in heat on their visitors’ sideline and the refs always cheat for the Packers, so you’re really 3 and 1 in fair games. How are you feeling about their prospects this season and what are the strengths of this team?

Gotta admit the refs screwed Green Bay at home by letting Zappe throw his first career touchdown multiple seconds after the play clock hit zero. Still, some of the wildest officiating these young eyes have ever seen. But I digress.

I truly think the Patriots are a sleeping giant. The first sign of a great defense is being stout against the run. After watching them not just contain, but shut down Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt was a game-changer. This week will be another excellent test, but I think the defense is really finding its stride.

The Patriots' offensive line is a top-tier group that’s dominated consistently on the ground, though the Browns defense shockingly held up last week. The current scheme with Mac Jones could become one of the league’s most productive, efficient units, but I’d expect a more aggressive, possibly simpler approach with last year’s 1st-rounder under center.

5. Despite the greatest coach in the NFL praising the Bears for 7 minutes, DraftKings still has the Patriots as 8-point favorites against Chicago. Why do you think betters don’t respect Bill Belichick’s opinion?

Because betters know 7 minutes of praise from Belichick basically guarantees a shutout. He’s not gonna let his team underestimate an admittedly talented Bears roster. The last time these teams played, Mitch Trubisky looked like an All-Pro passer and runner. Bill’s not making that mistake again.

I’ll be honest, Taylor’s excitement about the Patriot’s secondary has me a little worried about the prospect of this being Fields first 300-yard game. I suppose it will just make it that much more impressive when he does it.

And if you are as offended by the 8-point spread as I am, you can always put some money where your mouth is (please only what you’re willing to lose I’m a homer but I still care about your financial well-being) at DraftKings Sportsbook, who has you covered for this game and all of this week’s NFL action.