FOXBORO— After three days of speculation and very little insight from any members of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick finally told reporters that if Mac Jones is unable to play Sunday then backup Brian Hoyer will get the start against the Green Bay Packers. Jones has been diagnosed with a severe high ankle sprain suffered in last week's loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Even if this will be Hoyer’s first start in two seasons, he claims it’s no different than any other week.
"My approach is the same always,” Hoyer told reporters on Wednesday. “Whether I get reps or I don’t get reps, you always got to be ready to play.”
The last time we saw Hoyer start a regular season game for the Patriots was in 2020 when then-starting quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately for Hoyer, due to non-typical circumstances in the middle of a pandemic, the veteran quarterback didn't get any first-team reps at practice prior to starting.
With the Patriots trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 6-3, and in field-goal range at the end of the half, Hoyer did the one thing the coaching staff didn't want him to do.
He took a sack as time expired.
New England had just 11 seconds remaining and no timeouts. When Hoyer went back to pass, he held onto the football for a solid five seconds. Ideally, he would have thrown the ball away to stop the clock and allow the kicking team to come out and kick a game-tying field goal.
To make matters worse, Hoyer turned to the official to signal for a timeout New England didn’t have. With Hoyer going 15 of 24 for only 130 yards with an interception and two sacks, he was replaced by Jarrett Stidham in New England's 26-10 loss.
Hoyer, who has lost his last 11 starts with three different teams, was asked Wednesday about the 2020 sequence and if he feels like he can perform at a high level.
“I don’t think I’d still be here if I wasn’t [a good player],” Hoyer said in response.
“I mean, look, I’ve played for 14 years. I have a lot of bad memories. I have a lot of good memories, too. One game doesn’t define me,” he said of the 2020 debacle. “One play doesn’t define me. I’m excited about any opportunity I get a chance to go play. So I really couldn’t care less about that.”
For now, all he cares about is enjoying the moment, and appreciating the opportunity.
“At this point, you don’t know how many chances like this you get anymore,” Hoyer said. “So, obviously, it’s a part of the job. You’re always ready to play. So, for me, it’s an opportunity to go out there and have fun, and go out and execute really.”
According to reports, Jones is in the facility and participating in game planning. The Patriots quarterback is still operating as if he has a chance to play.
Whether it's Hoyer or Jones under center this Sunday, it will require a great effort to compete with Aaron Rodgers and avoid falling to 1-3.
You can follow Kevin Tame Jr. on Twitter @Kevin_Tame
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