In case Mac Jones will indeed be forced to miss the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots will turn to the most experienced quarterback on their roster to replace him. 14-year veteran Brian Hoyer will be the next man up, as was confirmed by head coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday.
Hoyer has appeared in 77 games over the course of his career, but has only 40 total starts on his résumé. The last of those came during the 2020 season, and it was a disappointing outing for him and the team alike.
Facing the reigning world champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Hoyer went 15-for-24 for 130 yards and a pair of turnovers. He also cost the team three points when he allowed himself to get sacked to run out the clock before the half. The Patriots eventually benched him for Jarrett Stidham in the fourth quarter and ended up losing 26-10.
Now back in the spotlight following Mac Jones’ ankle injury, memories of that game have been brought up as well. Hoyer, however, is not haunted by them.
“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, one play doesn’t define me,” he said. “I’m excited for any opportunity I get to go play. I really could [not] care less about that.”
Obviously, the circumstances this time around are quite different than they were in 2020. Not only is the current Patriots team a more talented one on both sides of the ball, Hoyer will also be properly prepared for the game to come — something that was not the case leading up to the Kansas City game.
Hoyer, after all, was thrust into the starting lineup on the eve of the game after starter Cam Newton tested positive for Covid-19. The contest was eventually rescheduled from Sunday to Monday, but the extra day did still not give the team an opportunity to hold another practice outside of a walkthrough setup.
Fast forward to this week, and you see Hoyer running the show in practice: with Jones absent, he is getting all the QB1 reps.
“Look, it’s obviously more beneficial than finding out Saturday morning that Cam has Covid and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I have Covid, I was around him all day yesterday.’ That was a unique year, a unique situation,” Hoyer said.
“For me, if I get to take more practice reps, that obviously is beneficial and hopefully you take that. Coach Belichick always says … practice execution becomes game day reality. I know Julian [Edelman] likes to use that one a lot. I’ve heard it a million times. Obviously, I hope it translates to that.”
Hoyer also pointed out that his general approach to preparation remained unchanged even with Jones expected to miss the upcoming game.
“Whether I get reps or I don’t get reps, you always got to be ready to play. As we saw on Sunday, you’re only one play away,” he said. “It’s the nature of your job and the business that we’re in. Always try to be as prepared as I can, whether I’m taking every rep in practice or I’m taking none. It’s just a day-by-day process.”