New England Patriots

Patriots OTA observations: Drake Maye starts slow, finishes strong

The Patriots rookie is still third on the QB depth chart.

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"We’re kind of getting into real football now."

That's one of the first comments head coach Jerod Mayo made to reporters Wednesday at the New England Patriots' organized team activity session outside Gillette Stadium. While the Patriots have had three official OTAs already, they'll have three straight sessions from Wednesday to Friday during which they can make real progress in preparing for the 2024 season.

So, what went down on the first of those three sessions? How were the quarterback reps divided between veteran Jacoby Brissett, incumbent backup Bailey Zappe and rookie Drake Maye, and how did each QB perform with those reps?

Here's everything you need to know about Wednesday's OTA session based on observations that Patriots Insiders Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) from Foxboro:


Star edge rusher Matthew Judon and rookie QB Joe Milton were among those missing from Wednesday's session. Here's the full list of absent players:

  • Matthew Judon, OLB
  • Joe Milton, QB
  • Jonathan Jones, CB
  • David Godchaux, DT
  • Sione Takitaki, LB
  • Jahlani Tavai, LB
  • Josh Uche, OLB
  • Jake Andrews, OL
  • Cole Strange, OL

Offensive lineman Sidy Sow was present and in uniform to start the session but left early and didn't participate, per Perry.

QB snap breakdown

Brissett was the first QB to get reps in team drills and was the "clear No. 1," according to Perry. Zappe was second up with Maye taking reps third, as he did on Day 1 of OTAs last week.

"In one competitive 11-on-11 period, Brissett and Maye shared a field and took five reps each," Perry wrote. "Zappe worked on the adjacent field and took all snaps.

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"In a later 11-on-11 period, Brissett took eight snaps. Zappe got five. Maye got three. Maye got more 7-on-7 reps than either veteran because the rookie worked as the lone QB on one field during that period.

"Bottom line: Brissett remains lead dog. Zappe took more 11-on-11 snaps than Maye."

Drake Maye shows improvement

Maye made a "step in the right direction," according to Perry, who noted the No. 3 overall pick overcame a "slowish start" to deliver a decent day.

"In team periods, (Maye) had an overthrow on a deep shot to JuJu Smith-Schuster," Perry wrote. "Then (he) had to re-huddle after a communication issue and subsequently threw incomplete on a tight end screen to Austin Hooper.

"Picked it up from there. Completed 14 of his next 16 attempts. (Two attempts in 11-on-11, the rest in 7-on-7.) His best throw of the day was an in-the-bucket deep completion to Tyquan Thornton. Perfectly placed."

Strong day for Jacoby Brissett

The top QB on the Patriots' depth chart played like it Wednesday.

"Jacoby Brissett was 13-for-15 in competitive periods. Looked sharp," Perry wrote.

"Two strong throws to Javon Baker in contested situations were two of his best of the day. Hit Tyquan Thornton on a roll-out throw that was a strike. Took a sack (Deatrich Wise and Trystan Hill there) late."

Curran added that Brissett "continues to stand out on a down-in, down-out basis."

"One thing you get reminded of watching him … he has an NFL arm and talent," Curran wrote. "Strung together a set of really nice throws in 7-on-7 including one to Javon Baker downfield on contested catch."

Zappe commits the lone turnover

OTA practices without pads often favor the offense, but the defense managed to produce a few highlights.

"One interception for the Patriots defense today: safety Jaylinn Hawkins picked off Bailey Zappe in 7-on-7 work off a deflection," Perry wrote.

"Undrafted rookie Mikey Victor broke up a Jacoby Brissett pass, and Marte Mapu nearly picked Drake Maye."

Quotes of note

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