The Mac Jones vs. Bailey Zappe controversy during the 2022 New England Patriots season wasn't just a debate amongst the fans. It also caused a split within the Patriots locker room, according to Devin McCourty.
The recently retired Pats safety revealed some players wanted Zappe to start at quarterback over Jones amid the team's offensive struggles.
“I think player-wise there was enough trust that we’re going to put the best guy out there," McCourty said on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." "But the struggles on offense, I think there were some guys in the locker room that were like ‘Let’s go with [Bailey] Zappe.’ Or ‘No, Mac looked good today.’
"It was just a back-and-forth, which to me, spoke more about what we had on offense than the quarterback. We never were solidified as an offensive group that guys had full confidence in anything we were doing. There was never true hope."
Zappe, a 2022 fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky, was forced into a starting role during the Patriots' loss in Green Bay. Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain the week prior and veteran backup Brian Hoyer exited the Week 4 matchup with a concussion. Zappe went on to go 2-0 as a starter against the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns.
Jones returned for New England's Week 7 Monday Night Football showdown with the Chicago Bears but was pulled in favor of Zappe after throwing an interception at the end of the first half. Zappe didn't fare any better as he threw two picks in the 33-14 defeat. Jones started behind center for the rest of the season.
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For what it's worth, McCourty is on Team Mac and believes the best is yet to come for the third-year signal-caller.
"I think he's the future of New England," McCourty said of Jones last month. "Any doubts, I think you’re wrong if you don’t think that. I think he's the future. He’s in that building right now doing different things, working with guys, talking to guys; that’s what he wants. He wants to be that quarterback."
Hoyer's recent release leaves Jones and Zappe as the only two quarterbacks currently on New England's depth chart.