It's Bailey Zappe season in New England.
Zappe is expected to start for the Patriots in a Week 5 matchup against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium, per NFL insider Jordan Schultz. It will mark his first career NFL start.
Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones has been sidelined since suffering a high-ankle sprain in a Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer started last weekend's 27-24 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers but was removed after just six pass attempts with a concussion. The 36-year-old has been placed on injured reserve.
Zappe, New England's third-string quarterback, replaced Hoyer against Green Bay. He completed 10-of-15 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown in his first NFL game.
The Patriots selected Zappe in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL draft out of Western Kentucky. As a senior in 2021, he completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 14 games.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has spoken highly of Zappe since the start of training camp and told reporters after last weekend's loss to the Packers that the rookie signal-caller "competed well."
"He's gotten a lot more snaps [in practice], which is always a good thing for a quarterback, and timing, and communication," Belichick said of Zappe earlier this week, per NBC Sports Boston's Nick Goss. "So, definitely making progress. A little more experience and more opportunity. I mean, I couldn't put a percentage on it."
The Patriots signed veteran quarterback Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad this week, and he's expected to back up Zappe on Sunday.
New England enters Week 5 with a 1-3 record, last place in the AFC East. The team is in desperate need of a win to remain competitive in a tough division that has seen the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets win at least two games so far this year.