New England Patriots

Pats OC reaffirms Brissett is starting QB, preaches patience with Maye

Unsurprisingly, the Patriots are taking it slow with their rookie QB.

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After last year's failed 4-13 season, the New England Patriots made moves at the quarterback position by trading away former first-round draft pick Mac Jones, signing eight-year veteran Jacoby Brissett, and taking Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

With Bailey Zappe still on the roster, and Joe Milton added later in the draft, Pats fans have been left to wonder who will be the Patriots' starting QB for the new year. With OTAs underway, New England's offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt indicated it's Brissett's job until further notice.

"Jacoby [Brissett] is our starter," Van Pelt said. "He's played excellent football for us in the spring and Drake [Maye] is coming along -- until that changes, we're going to stick with what we got."

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While it's no secret that the plan will eventually be to hand Maye the keys to New England's offense, the Patriots have been clear that they are in no rush to do so. Fans shouldn't take Van Pelt's statement as a bad sign for Maye either -- multiple reports have suggested Maye has made encouraging progress during OTAs.

"You have to take that for as it comes," Van Pelt said of Maye. "I think it'll be a combination of a couple things. When those decisions [of when Maye will start] are made -- and they'll be made together as a group with Eliot [Wolf] and coach [Jerod] Mayo -- when that time comes, we'll see, but there's no timetable on when that comes."

Patriots' OC Alex Van Pelt talks about his approach to coaching rookie QBs and when he expects Drake Maye to get more reps in practice.

As for Maye's development, it's coming along. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer previously shared that Maye has made "incremental" improvements since joining the Patriots, showing elite downfield accuracy and a solid ability to manage pressure in the pocket. On the downside, Maye's footwork reportedly needs improvement.

"It's a marathon over a sprint," Van Pelt added of Maye's development. "You don't just go out and run a marathon, you have to train properly for a marathon, and it's the same with a quarterback. There's a process, and we follow that process, trust that process -- you can't just stick a guy out there and expect him to be successful without the proper training."

Some of the NFL's top QBs began their journeys on the bench -- Patrick Mahomes was behind Alex Smith, Lamar Jackson was behind Joe Flacco, Jalen Hurts was behind Carson Wentz, and so on. After spending some time behind a league veteran, players tend to gain confidence and skills that can help bridge the gap from college ball to the pros.

Looking back at the 2021 draft, former Patriots QB Mac Jones made starts as a rookie along with Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance. All have since been traded and have been dropped in their respective depth charts.

"We always talk about earning your reps around here," Van Pelt added. "As [Maye] continues to grow and have successful practices and start stacking those, then we can think about moving him up the depth chart, but it's a process -- it's a marathon and we're going to take our time and do it the right way."

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