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    Patriots Head Coach Jerod Mayo Makes Surprising Statement About QB Situation

    Will the New England Patriots roster four quarterbacks during training camp? Head coach Jerod Mayo gave an interesting answer on Wednesday.

    FOXBORO, Mass. — Jerod Mayo apparently has a new plan for the New England Patriots quarterback room.

    Roughly a month ago, Mayo indicated the Patriots would trim their QB depth chart by the time training camp starts in late July, if not sooner. But he shifted gears Wednesday morning ahead of New England’s final mandatory minicamp practice.

    Will the New England Patriots Roster 4 QBs in Training Camp?

    New England currently has four quarterbacks on its roster: Jacoby Brissett, Drake Maye, Bailey Zappe, and Joe Milton III. Brissett and Maye are roster locks, but the futures of Zappe and Milton remain unclear.

    Last month, Mayo told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that he planned to reduce the QB room to three by the start of training camp, and he reiterated that point while meeting with reporters before an OTA practice.

    “Once we get to training camp, that’s real football,” Mayo said. “So out here in the spring, we’ll rock with four [QBs]. But, as soon as we get to training camp, you have to start paring down the roster.”

    Those remarks left a bit more wiggle room than his report comments to Breer, but the sentiment was the same. As such, many assumed either Zappe or Milton — likely Zappe, given Milton’s status as a rookie sixth-round pick — would be cut or traded by the start of training camp.

    But Mayo sang a much different tune on Wednesday morning. Here’s the full exchange:

    Reporter: “You guys have four quarterbacks on the roster right now. That’s a lot of reps to kind of split up, and two of them are rookies, obviously. Do you envision going into camp with four quarterbacks?”

    Mayo: “Absolutely; absolutely. That’s how I see it right now. We’ll have these conversations as the week progresses, but that’s how I see it right now.”

    So, what changed?

    Perhaps Mayo got ahead of himself last month. Maybe the respective performances of Zappe and Milton have made it difficult to choose between the two. Or maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    Regardless, we probably shouldn’t expect a move involving Zappe or Milton anytime soon. At some point, however, a decision will need to be made.

    Who Will Be Odd Man Out in Patriots’ QB Room?

    If you asked us this question a week ago, we probably would’ve said Zappe. Sure, Zappe is a more capable backup now than Milton probably will be at any point next season, but he has limited upside and zero path to starting long-term.

    However, we feel worse about Milton now than we did a week ago. His play was all over the map — some good, more bad — and he didn’t see any reps in team drills during Wednesday’s practice.

    Does that have anything to do with his standing backflips and constant dancing? Probably not, but you can’t rule it out. We know how Belichick would feel about a late-round project cutting a rug during drills; Mayo’s feelings on such behavior are unclear.

     

    Zappe doesn’t possess a fraction of Milton’s raw talent, but he handles himself like a professional and, if nothing else, has proven capable of playing winning football when called upon. Milton, whose draft slide reportedly was partially caused by off-field concerns, hasn’t proven anything.

    With all that said, Zappe still looks like the odd man out.

    He didn’t play well during the spring, and by the end of the minicamp, he was repping a distant third behind Brissett and Maye. He was a total afterthought.

    The argument for rostering Zappe over Milton went something like this: If the Patriots are hell-bent on sitting Maye for most of the season, they need a capable backup who can fill in for Brissett if he suffers an injury. Patriots fans might be down on the team, but people inside the building believe they can be surprisingly competitive.

    KEEP READING: Patriots Coaches Detail Where Each Young QB Must Improve

    But Maye’s ascension to the No. 2 QB role during minicamp changes the math. He now is at worst the top backup and at best pushing for the No. 1 spot. So, the Patriots can afford to have a project for a third QB.

    The ball is in Milton’s court. If he takes care of business on and off the field, he should earn the final spot on New England’s QB depth chart.

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