The New England Patriots will officially take on the Green Bay Packers this week without Mac Jones. The starting quarterback has been ruled out of the two teams’ meeting on Sunday because of an ankle injury suffered last week.
With Jones unavailable, the Patriots will now have to turn to veteran backup Brian Hoyer. The game will be the 41st start of Hoyer’s 14-year career, even though he has not started a game since the 2020 season. So, will the team try to protect him by adapting its game plan? Possibly, but Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is not convinced of that.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, LaFleur said that he would not expect the New England game plan to look much different with Hoyer taking over for Jones.
“Brian Hoyer is a guy who I have a lot of respect for ... He’s been doing it for a really long time, and he’s going to know their system inside and out,” LaFleur said.
“That always presents some challenges in terms of when you have a veteran versus a more inexperienced player, although I don’t want to take anything away from Mac; Mac’s been unbelievable, obviously, having a Pro Bowl year last year and doing some great things this year as well.”
Jones started the Patriots’ first three games of the year, but the sophomore passer sustained a high ankle sprain during last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. New England made no concrete announcements throughout the week, and even had him make an appearance at practice on Friday.
However, Jones was eventually ruled out. This development did not necessarily come as a surprise given that he did not participate in any practices this week.
As a result, Hoyer will be running the show on Sunday — a show that will look familiar, according to LaFleur’s projection.
“Whoever’s out there you just have to adjust and adapt,” he said. “It’s a little bit different when you’re going against a guy that is a real mobile quarterback and then you have to go to a pocket passer. So, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of difference within their game plan on how they want to attack us.”
Hoyer himself also downplayed the potential impact that Jones’ absence would have on his preparation earlier this week.
“You always got to be ready to play. As we saw on Sunday, you’re only one play away,” he told reporters earlier this week. “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.”