New England Patriots' Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien Talks About Emerging Rookie Malik Cunningham

Photo: Instagram/Malik Cunningham

In a surprising twist prior to their game against the Las Vegas Raiders, the New England Patriots elevated rookie quarterback Malik Cunningham to the No. 2 position, surpassing Bailey Zappe.

Although Cunningham's official NFL debut was brief, with a 5-yard sack as his only recorded statistic, the move has sparked intrigue in the Patriots' offense.

Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien expressed his enthusiasm, noting that Cunningham's versatility allows him to play in various positions on the field. O'Brien mentioned, "He can play a lot of different places, and his role will depend on the week's game plan."

Photo: Instagram/Malik Cunningham

Malik Cunningham, a 25-year-old undrafted rookie from Louisville, boasts an impressive college career, amassing 9,664 passing yards and 70 touchdowns over five seasons, in addition to 3,182 rushing yards and 50 ground touchdowns.

His 2021 redshirt junior season was particularly noteworthy, with 1,034 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground, along with 2,941 passing yards and 19 aerial touchdowns. The Patriots, currently ranked 31st in points scored, are exploring every option to rejuvenate their struggling offense, and Cunningham's multi-faceted abilities are a potential solution.

During the preseason, Cunningham showcased his versatility, completing 3 of 6 passes for 19 yards, running the ball six times for 39 yards and a touchdown, and making one reception on nine targets. The Patriots, despite their 1-5 record, have added an intriguing dimension to their offense through Cunningham's emergence.

However, O'Brien made it clear that this decision wasn't a reflection of a lack of confidence in Zappe. He also confirmed that Mac Jones remains the starter for Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills. The manner in which Malik Cunningham's role evolves in upcoming games will be a captivating quarterback storyline to watch in Boston.

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Source: NFL

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