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Report: Patriots to start Zappe over Mac Jones vs. Chargers

Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The New England Patriots will start quarterback Bailey Zappe over Mac Jones for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers, sources told The Athletic's Jeff Howe.

New England reportedly will also have a package of plays for quarterback/wide receiver Malik Cunningham.

It hasn't been decided who Zappe's immediate backup will be, Howe adds. The Patriots also roster quarterback Will Grier, who's on the practice squad.

With Jones under center, the 2-9 Patriots rank 31st in points scored per game. The 2021 first-round pick has been benched four times for Zappe this season, including during last week's 10-7 loss to the New York Giants. Jones threw two first-half interceptions against New York before exiting.

Jones made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2021 but hasn't been able to replicate that success recently. The 25-year-old has completed 64.9% of his passes this year - down from 67.6% in Year 1 - while tossing 10 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.

Zappe replaced an injured Jones as a first-year player in 2022. The fourth-round pick had five touchdowns against three picks while helping New England win both games he started last campaign.

Zappe went 9-for-14 with only 54 yards and an interception in his appearance against the Giants. He quarterbacked a 10-play drive in the final minutes of the game, but Patriots kicker Chad Ryland missed a 35-yard field goal that would've forced overtime.

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