Mac Jones and Zappe "Mixed Reps," against Chicago (The narrative being pushed contrary to Mac Jones getting benched after a bad interception). Zappe was allowed to air it out in this game. Mac Jones was benched, in my opinion, because Patricia had more confidence in Bailey Zappe's experience in the air raid and the shoot-n-run concepts that require more strain on the QB. If Zappe didn't have so many tipped passes, one could see he was pretty comfortable in Matt Patricia's system.
The crux of the issue is how Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe developed their skillset in college.
Mac Jones played in a system that was heavily reliant on superior talent. Even though in multiple games, he did prove he was not only a game manager; he was always in a run-first offense. What this means is superior talent in the run game, as well as playmakers, always were available to Jones. He was able to take advantage of the talent to rack up stats that could stave off those trying to call him a game manager. All of the pass concepts relied on a receiver beating a man and making a play. Jones was either throwing to a wide-open man or not.
Zappe, on the other hand, had a much different College experience. Zappe ran an Air-Raid offense at Houston Baptist, an FCS school that could not rely on superior talent in playmakers but could consistently win on the scheme. This scheme was a pass first-run second operation. If they needed 2 yards, they were likely to throw for it out of the spread just as much as they were going to pass. This scheme puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the quarterback as well as receivers.
In "Run n Shoot" type schemes where receivers have multiple ways to break a route, it takes a crazy amount of repetitions and drilling to master the system. These offensive plays are much more preferable to an NFL offensive coordinator who needs a guy who can make in-play reads to determine what moves wide receivers are going to make against several different defensive looks. These types of Quarterbacks who are able to shoulder a whole offense are better for offensive play callers who can both lean on the pass game and run game. This is what I believe Patricia likes about Bailey Zappe rather than Mac Jones.
Going into the game, you can tell the offensive playcalling was better suited to Zappe's play style. If you are Mac Jones, the one thing you cannot do is turn over the football. Thus when he threw the pick (Mind you, in a play that looked a lot like a Zappe suited Run n Shoot offense scheme)
Y is running an option route, where if he is covered in the flat will then turn up the sideline and be open. This is a common route run in an air raid offense that a guy like Zappe has drilled a thousand times, whereas is a pro-style Mac Jones is probably just getting comfortable with. Yes, he is pressured, but he tries to force it to Y up the sideline and gets picked. Zappe throws to where the defense isn't; Jones throws to where he thinks his men are open.
Mac Jones has never had the full stress of the offense on him; Bailey Zappe has. Mac Jones came from a look for the open man because one is their system. Bailey Zappe has come from systems that require intricate feeling on the receiver and defense movement to find open men in multiple different scenarios. The reps are just different.
Bailey Zappe threw the football 2,163 times in football games in his 4-year college career. He practiced and played in a system that had him throwing the ball 40-50 times a game. His live reps throwing the football, no matter the competition, in a system that relies more on him is going to give him a better understanding of how to gain yards with the football.
Mac Jones, in his college and NFL career, hasn't had as many live reps or completions as Bailey in just his college years.
Jones' 532 completions in college and the NFL dwarf Bailey's 1375 in college. Even though many of those were D1 FCS, it's still the type of mental reps and pressure in a pass-first system that is invaluable and breeds success in the NFL. Look at how Patricia utilized him against the Browns; that's a coach who is comfortable with the guy slinging it.
The downside of Bailey Zappe, is threefold. The air raid is prone to turnovers, and he lacks some fundamentals that game managers have down pack (handoffs, exchanges, under-center footwork), and lastly and most detrimental, he has a low release point that has caused multiple batted balls and interceptions.
In both the Cleveland and Chicago tapes, Zappe had double-digit batted balls resulting in incompletions or interceptions.
Who's the guy?
Zappe is Patricia's guy, don’t know if it's the team's guy.