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Bill Belichick confirms quarterback Brian Hoyer will start if Mac Jones can't play

Related: Patriots will not ‘completely turn the offense on its head’ with Brian Hoyer set to replace Mac Jones

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not say if quarterback Mac Jones was healthy enough to suit up on Sunday, but he did reveal his backup plans.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Belichick confirmed that 14-year veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer would be under center against the Green Bay Packers if Jones cannot go.

“He knows [the offense] better than anybody, from an experience standpoint,” Belichick said. “This year is this year, but Brian’s had a lot of experience; he’s been in a lot of systems. Seen a lot of football, taken a lot of snaps for us in various capacities. Thought he played well in the preseason. If we need him to go, he’ll be ready to go.”

Hoyer last started a game for the Patriots in 2020 during a Covid-19 emergency. After Cam Newton was diagnosed with the virus the day before the game, Hoyer was thrusted into action just two days later. The result was a 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Due to Hoyer’s experience in the system, Belichick noted the offense would not need to alter their game plan drastically — something his assistant coaches echoed yesterday.

“Brian’s got a lot of experience,” he said. “He’s done everything that we would want to do if Mac’d be able to do it.”

Besides Hoyer, rookie Bailey Zappe is the only other quarterback on the Patriots roster. After spending the first three weeks on the inactive list, the 2022 fourth-round selection now appears to be on deck.

“Like every rookie quarterback, he has a lot to learn and he’s learned a lot,” Belichick said on Wednesday. “He’s learned a ton. He’s a smart kid, he absorbs information well, processes it well. Every snap helps him, whatever it is - walkthrough, scout team reps, 1-on-1s, things like that. But he’s got a long way to go.”

As for Jones, Belichick noted he has “made a lot of progress” the past two days. However, all signs continue to point to Hoyer leading the Patriots offense in Lambeau Field on Sunday.

“Brian will be ready to go if he has to be ready to go, I think we all know that. So, I don't really worry about it,” Belichick added.