Patriots Coach Reaffirms Jacoby Brissett As Starting QB Over Drake Maye

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt gave interesting comments on the QB battle between Jacoby Brissett and Drake Maye.

FOXBORO, Mass. — A time might come next season when Drake Maye supplants Jacoby Brissett as the New England Patriots‘ starting quarterback. But when you listen to Patriots coaches speak, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Brissett isn’t the Week 1 starter.

The latest evidence arrived Tuesday morning ahead of New England’s final OTA practice open to reporters.

Patriots Offensive Coordinator Comments on QB Battle

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt was asked whether the Patriots have a timeline for when Maye could take over as the starting QB. He used the question to reaffirm Brissett’s status as the starter.

“I think you have to take it, as it comes,” Van Pelt said. “I think it’ll be a combination of a couple of things when those decisions are made, and it’ll be made together as a group with Eliot [Wolf] and Coach [Jerod] Mayo. But there’s no timetable on when that time comes.

“And Jacoby, again, is our starter. He’s played excellent for us in the spring, and Drake is coming on. So until that changes, we’re going to stick with that.”

How strong will Van Pelt’s voice be in deciding whom the Patriots start in the season opener?

“I don’t think it’ll be stronger than anybody else’s,” he said. “I think it will be equal, I would hope. But I’ve been very impressed with the way the organization has been run since I’ve been here. Very open with communication and very collaborative.”

Van Pelt also praised Maye for his development over the last month, particularly in improving his footwork.

“He’s come out, he’s taken everything from the classroom, everything from our individual periods, and he’s applied them to the team drills,” Van Pelt said. “He’s been impressive so far.

“The biggest things we’re working with him right now, obviously, calling plays from the huddle, which is new to a lot of these college guys, and then just playing in rhythm and in time with your feet. That’s the biggest strides, I’d say, he’s made the last few weeks.”

Van Pelt went out of his way to double down on Brissett, which was notable. However, moments later, the Patriots made a notable change to Maye’s practice reps.

Patriots Change Drake Maye’s Usage in Latest OTA Practice

Maye repped behind Brissett and Bailey Zappe in all prior OTA practices open to reporters. But Tuesday’s session saw him rep behind Brissett but before Zappe, representing a potentially significant change.

“It’s a battle, me, Jacoby and Bailey. We’re battling,” Maye said after practice when asked about the shift. “Mixing up who goes with who each day. It’s not necessarily you’re going first, you’re going second. Jacoby’s getting first, and then from there, we’re just playing it by ear. Obviously, it matters when you’re in there.”

Maye, like the rest of the Patriots offense, was inconsistent Tuesday. On a day that saw the Patriots’ defense dominate throughout, Maye threw two interceptions, including one on a bad overthrow.

Ultimately, the change in practice reps probably means more for Zappe than it does for Maye or Brissett.

Mayo recently told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that he wants to trim the QB room to three before training camp, and it’s hard not to view Zappe as the likely odd man out.

However, the Patriots wouldn’t have Maye run with the first-team offense if they didn’t think he could handle it. Let’s see if the trend continues during mandatory minicamp, which starts next Monday.

For now, Brissett is the clear top quarterback in New England, and the offense looks more functional when he’s under center. But there’s a long way to go before the start of the season, and Maye is slowly gaining ground.

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