FOXBORO— The New England Patriots made their intentions clear at the quarterback position when drafting Mac Jones in the first round last year.
That draft selection signaled the future and a new chapter in New England. Dating back to 1993 when the Patriots drafted Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick, the quarterback position has been as stable as it gets.
That's right, there was a quarterback in New England before the Tom Brady era.
Outside of the 2008 season when Matt Cassel took over after Brady suffered a torn ACL and the 2020 season in which Cam Newton physically could not throw the football, the Patriots have never had to worry about who was under center.
Is that the case now?
After Jones was diagnosed with a severe high left ankle sprain, the second-year quarterback is expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks. The injury could also require surgery.
That opens the door for veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer. The same guy while trailing 6-3, and well within field-goal range, took that sack in the final 11 seconds of the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020. And to make matters worse, he tried to call a timeout even though the Patriots didn't have any left.
But according to former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, there is no reason to hit the panic button just yet. He expects Hoyer to be commendable in Jones' absence.
"I don't know if I'm that alarmed," Johnson said. "Let's face it, after that Green Bay game, the schedule gets pretty light. I feel like, believe it or not, you can win games with Hoyer after this Green Bay game.
"I think he's a smart guy. I think he's composed. I think he knows this offense inside and out. I don't think it would be as much of a drop if Hoyer is in there as people think."
The Dallas Cowboys have won two consecutive with their backup quarterback (Cooper Rush), but asking Hoyer to go toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers is a daunting task. However, the Patriots' next seven games will come against the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Jets, and Minnesota Vikings.
Is Hoyer capable of beating some of those weaker teams?
Hoyer has started just two games in the last four-plus seasons and hasn't won a start since Week 4 of the 2016 season. The 36-year-old probably wants to forget about his tenure with the 49ers in 2017, as he started the season 0-6.
Sunday's game vs. the Packers is scheduled for a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff.
You can follow Kevin Tame Jr. on Twitter @Kevin_Tame
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