The New England Patriots find themselves in an unfortunate situation entering Week 4, as they will most likely take the field without starting quarterback Mac Jones.
After Jones suffered a “pretty severe” high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, they will likely be without their 24-year-old QB for the foreseeable future. That means the team will move forward with veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer under center.
“Hoyer is great to be around,” Senior Football Advisor Matt Patricia told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday. “His experience, his knowledge, the way he sees the game, the mental preparation he does as he’s trying to get ready to be in his role through the course of the first three weeks of the season is really impressive.
“I love when you can get around a great veteran player like Hoyer and pick his brain and kind of find out ‘Hey what do you see here, how do you look at this and maybe what are the nuances here that you think will help us’. ... If you love football, those are great guys to talk to, whether it’s coverage, how they see the front, their thoughts and ideas on routes, and even leadership.”
Hoyer’s last start came for the Patriots in an emergency situation back in 2020. After Cam Newton was diagnosed with Covid-19 the day before the game, Hoyer was thrusted into action two days later with little preparation.
The result was a 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, in which the 14-year veteran completed 15-of-24 passes for 130 yards and an interception. He was eventually relieved for quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
On Sunday at Lambeau Field, New England’s coaches will not completely redesign their offense, but will make sure to play to Hoyer’s strengths.
“We always look to play to our players’ strengths. Every player has a unique skill set. Every player does certain things better than other things. We’ll have a plan based on who is going to be the quarterback, and we’ll see how that develops throughout the week. We don’t want to completely turn the offense on its head because we feel like we are making some progress,” quarterbacks coach Joe Judge said Tuesday.
It will be a tough opening task for Hoyer against a stout Green Bay defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in points allowed and passing yards against per game. New England will likely lean on running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson on the ground, while asking Hoyer to manage the game through the air.
Either way, the Patriots will have to be at their absolute best on Sunday to keep pace with two-time reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.