Brian Hoyer

Mac Jones Unlikely To Return In Week 5

OCTOBER 9: As expected, Zappe will get his first career start on Sunday, as Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. Jones is still targeting a Week 6 return.

OCTOBER 6: The Patriots should not be expected to have their starting quarterback in uniform this week. Although Mac Jones managed a limited practice Wednesday, the second-year passer returning in Week 6 also appears far from a lock.

Jones’ injured ankle remains unstable, with’s Mike Giardi noting the New England starter is still limping. While Giardi adds Jones is moving around better than he did to end the Pats’ practice sessions last week,’s Aaron Wilson notes Jones is not believed to be particularly close to returning.

This is not exactly surprising news; Jones is believed to have sustained a “pretty severe” high ankle sprain. Nevertheless, the former first-round pick is making his case to the Pats’ staff to return in Week 5 against the Lions, Wilson adds, but Week 6 — against the Browns — is viewed as the likelier return window.

As for Sunday, the Pats are likely to go with Bailey Zappe. Brian Hoyer is not expected to be cleared from concussion protocol in time for New England’s Week 5 contest, Wilson adds, clearing the way for the team’s third-stringer to make his first start. Zappe, whom the Pats chose 137th overall, completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown in the Pats’ overtime loss to the Packers. Zappe transformed his stock last year by breaking Joe Burrow‘s Division I-FBS record with a 62-touchdown pass season in his lone Western Kentucky campaign. Playing in a pass-crazed system, Zappe’s 5,967 passing yards topped the FBS field by over 1,000.

The Patriots signed Garrett Gilbert to their practice squad this week. Signs now point to the Pats sporting a Zappe-Gilbert depth chart against the Lions. Gilbert is the only quarterback on New England’s P-squad.

Patriots Place QB Brian Hoyer On IR

Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion during the first half of New England’s Week 4 game in Green Bay. The Patriots are placing their backup quarterback on IR, Field Yates of tweets. A concussion sending a player to IR, rather than the team having him go through the protocol on a week-to-week basis, is a somewhat rare move. But that is the path the Pats will take with the 14th-year veteran passer.

This will sideline the Patriots’ backup quarterback for at least four games. Head injuries obviously call for concern, and a report earlier Thursday indicated Hoyer was unlikely to clear concussion protocol in time for the Pats’ Week 5 contest. This will leave the Patriots shorthanded at quarterback, with Mac Jones amid another uphill battle to play after suffering a sprained ankle.

Jones sustained what is believed to be a severe high ankle sprain on the final Pats offensive play against the Ravens in Week 3, leading to Hoyer’s spot start last week. Hoyer being forced out of the Lambeau Field matchup brought in fourth-round rookie Bailey Zappe, who will be set to make his first NFL start if Jones cannot return in time. Zappe will soon be in position to be Jones’ primary backup.

Jones is viewed as likelier to make a legitimate charge toward returning in Week 6 (against the Browns), but he has gotten in two limited practices this week. That keeps the door open for a surprisingly quick re-emergence. For Hoyer, this is a tough development so late in his career. Despite the veteran passer being far removed from his Texans playoff season (2015), the Pats have prioritized their multi-stint backup.

Hoyer, who will turn 37 next week, began his career with New England as a 2009 UDFA. After the Cleveland-area native began a journeyman career as a backup/frequent starter — one that also included a notable 2014 stretch in his home town — Hoyer re-signed with the Pats after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade in 2017. Garoppolo effectively took Hoyer’s 49ers roster spot, but Tom Brady‘s former backup reprised his old role over the next 1 1/2 seasons, collecting a Super Bowl ring in the process. Following Hoyer’s 2019 Colts campaign, the Pats brought him back. In New England stint No. 3, Hoyer has backed up Jones and Cam Newton. Hoyer’s current contract (two years, $4MM) runs through 2023.

New England signed Garrett Gilbert to its practice squad this week. If Jones is unable to go, the team will likely be forced to turn to a Zappe-Gilbert QB depth chart against the Lions.

Patriots QB Brian Hoyer Out For Game With Head Injury

The Patriots were forced to turn to veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer with second-year starter Mac Jones out this week after injuring his ankle in the team’s loss to the Ravens. After suffering an injury in his first start since Week 4 of the 2020 season, though, Hoyer has been ruled out for the remainder of the game with a head injury. 

On just his second series as the starting quarterback, Hoyer took a hard hit on a sack from Packers linebacker Rashan Gary and left the game to be evaluated with a head injury. Hoyer had looked good in his limited time, completing five of his six pass attempts for 37 yards before getting knocked out of the game.

With Jones and Hoyer ruled out, New England was forced to turn to its fourth-round pick from this year’s draft, Bailey Zappe. The rookie out of Western Kentucky is truly the Patriots’ only option as even their emergency quarterback, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, is out today with a knee injury.

The former Hilltopper faces the daunting task of beating the Packers in his first bit of NFL playing time. So far, Zappe has been up to the task becoming the first quarterback from the 2022 NFL Draft class to throw an NFL touchdown. Both Titans’ rookie quarterback Malik Willis and Steelers’ rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett were allotted playing time before Zappe, but it was Zappe who cashed in with his arm first (Pickett had two rushing touchdowns in today’s loss to the Jets).

Even if Zappe leads the Patriots to an upset victory over the Packers, he likely won’t be asked to man the starting job for long. Despite the apparent severity of Jones’ initial injury, Jones has refused to accept an extended absence, seeking a second opinion on his diagnosis and teasing fans not to count him out for this week’s game before being ruled out. Hoyer’s injury shouldn’t keep him out for very long either, unless it’s an especially severe head injury.

If they are forced to move forward with Zappe, the next few games could be manageable as they don’t face a single team currently over .500 until after their bye week. If Jones and Hoyer are out for multiple weeks, Zappe would be in line to start against the Lions next Sunday and the Browns the following week.

It also would not be a surprise to see New England sign a quarterback to their practice squad this week. The Patriots will need someone to back up Zappe with even Meyers on the injured list.

Patriots Rule Out Mac Jones For Week 4; Brian Hoyer To Start

After suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 3, Mac Jones was not expected to play this week. He will not; the Patriots ruled him out for their Week 4 game in Green Bay.

Brian Hoyer will get the call against the Packers. This will be Hoyer’s 40th career start. Despite his extensive history with the Patriots, Sunday will mark only the veteran’s second start with the team.

Jones did not log an official practice this week, though the Pats quarterback was present at the team’s Friday workout. Bill Belichick repeatedly called the 2021 first-rounder “day to day,” but the young passer is believed to be battling a severe high ankle sprain — one that could sideline him for multiple games. Thus, it was expected throughout the week Hoyer would get the call. Jones made a strong effort to play through this issue Sunday, but’s Mike Giardi notes the Alabama product continues to walk with a “noticeable limp” (Twitter link).

Hoyer, 36, has made some memorable contributions as a pro. The Cleveland-area native had the Browns in playoff contention late in the 2014 season, one that came mostly without Josh Gordon, and replaced Ryan Mallett early in the 2015 campaign to steer the Texans to an AFC South title. The former UDFA threw 19 touchdown passes compared to just seven interceptions that season. But Hoyer is far removed from his best NFL days; he is 1-12 as a starter since that Houston season. That win came for the 2016 Bears.

The Patriots have nevertheless circled back to Hoyer on multiple occasions. Adding him as a 2009 UDFA, the Pats kept Hoyer around for three seasons. They then re-signed him in 2017, after having traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers. Hoyer began that season as San Francisco’s stopgap starter but finished it as Tom Brady‘s backup. After the Colts signed Hoyer to back up Jacoby Brissett in 2019, in the wake of the surprise Andrew Luck retirement, the Pats brought him back for the 2020 season. Hoyer backed up Cam Newton in 2020 and was Jones’ QB2 last season.

Hoyer’s experience aside, this is a clear setback during a Patriots season themed around Jones’ development. This will be Jones’ first missed start as a pro. The former national championship-winning QB sustained his injury on the final play of the Patriots’ loss to the Ravens; Jones was unable to put any weight on his injured leg after the malady occurred. Despite seeking out a second opinion this week, Jones will be shelved.

A multigame Jones absence would stand to affect the Pats’ preparations going forward; they face the Lions in Week 5 and the Browns in Week 6. Hoyer struggles would open the door to rookie Bailey Zappe, who is coming off a record-setting season (62 touchdown passes) at Western Kentucky. There are no quarterbacks on New England’s practice squad.

Latest On Patriots QB Mac Jones

After Mac Jones suffered a serious injury on the final play of yesterday’s game, the Patriots expressed concern that their franchise signal-caller had suffered a high ankle sprain. After further testing today, it is apparent that he will likely miss at least some time. 

NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported yesterday (via Twitter) that New England feared Jones had suffered tendon and/or ligament damage – something which would not have shown on his x-rays, which came back negative. Earlier today, his colleague Tom Pelissero tweeted that the 24-year-old is indeed dealing with a “pretty severe” ankle sprain.

At this point, it is unclear whether or not surgery will be required. Still, Pelissero adds, it is unlikely the former first-rounder will be available for New England’s upcoming game against the Packers. If Jones does end up undergoing a procedure, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport notes that it would be ‘tight-rope surgery,’ something which was developed at Jones’ alma mater, Alabama (video link). The operation, if needed, would be aimed at accelerating the recovery process.

Assuming Jones is sidelined, New England will turn to veteran Brian Hoyer, who is in the third year of his most recent Foxboro stint. His last start came in 2020, while his most recent win dates back to 2016 when he was with the Bears. The 36-year-old has plenty of experience in the Patriots’ offense, though, and would likely be more reliable than rookie Bailey Zappe

Yesterday’s loss dropped the Patriots to 1-2, and Jones’ second season has seen him throw five interceptions against just two touchdowns so far. Still, any absence would represent a significant loss for the team’s offense, which is experiencing growing pains in the post-Josh McDaniels era.

Patriots Believe QB Mac Jones Suffered High Ankle Sprain

On the final offensive play of the Patriots’ loss today to the Ravens, quarterback Mac Jones suffered an ankle injury that left him in lots of pain as he was carried to the locker room. The team believes Jones sustained a high-ankle sprain, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, and he will undergo an MRI tomorrow to confirm and determine the severity of the injury. 

Jones has had a tough start to his sophomore season after a rookie year that earned him a Pro Bowl bid as an alternate for the quarterback he played against today, Lamar Jackson, who sat out of last year’s all-star game due to injury. After Jones earned praise in Year 1 for protecting the football with a touchdown to interception ratio of 22 to 13, the same has been difficult to say this season as he’s only thrown two touchdowns to five interceptions in the first three weeks. Much of this can surely be attributed to the change of offensive coordinators, but, unfortunately, this new health-scare will only make it more difficult for Jones to improve under the new guidance.

If the MRI tomorrow confirms the diagnosis and reveals that Jones will miss time, Brian Hoyer is currently listed as the primary backup for the quarterback position. Rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe is the third quarterback on the depth chart. Zappe has obviously never started in an NFL game, but he did set a record with 62 touchdown passes last season for the Hilltoppers, besting the former college record-holder Joe Burrow, by two.

Hoyer, on the other hand, has extensive experience from his 13 years in the league. The journeyman quarterback has worn seven franchises’ jerseys and is currently in his third stint with the Patriots. Despite a career as a backup quarterback, Hoyer has appeared in at least one game every year of his career and thrown at least one pass in every season, as well. He’s also been in position to start 39 games over the years, getting to serve as a team’s main quarterback for the season twice: in 2014 for the Browns and in 2015 for the Texans. In both situations that he started a majority of a team’s games for the season, he had a winning record as a starter, going 7-6 in Cleveland and 5-4 in Houston.

With Jones’ injury, it’s looking like Hoyer will get a chance to extend those streaks. If Jones ends up missing a longer period of time, it might be more prudent to get Zappe, their 23-year-old backup, some live NFL snaps, as Hoyer inches closer to his 37th birthday next month. Regardless, the task of keeping up with the Dolphins (3-0) and the Bills (2-1) in the AFC East just got a lot more challenging for New England.

AFC Notes: Deablo, Koonce, Zappe

The Raiders turned heads when they selected offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood in the first round of the 2021 draft. His play as a rookie didn’t ease concerns that he represented a reach being taken that high, but other rookies provided cause for optimism in 2022 and beyond.

In a breakdown of the entire class’ roster standing and outlook for the upcoming campaign, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that a number of players the Raiders drafted after Leatherwood impressed in their inaugural seasons, and are in line for larger workloads in 2022. One of those is linebacker Divine Deablo, whom the Raiders chose at N0. 80 last year.

The Virginia Tech alum spent his rookie season converting from safety, which he played in college. He finished the season strong, though, starting five games and making 45 tackles. His pass coverage was a sore spot, leading to a PFF grade of only 53.7 in that department. Still, the departure of veteran Cory Littleton should open up a permanent starting role for Deablo, making him a player the Raiders “can comfortably count on.”

Here are some other AFC notes, including one more from that same Raiders piece:

  • Bonsignore identifies Malcolm Koonce as another young player who could see significantly more playing time in his second NFL campaign. The 24-year-old was on the field for only 48 defensive snaps as a rookie, but he managed to record a pair of sacks with that limited opportunity. With Carl Nassib no longer on the roster, the No. 79 pick has been practicing as a backup to defensive end Maxx Crosby, Bonsignore notes. At six-foot-two, 250 pounds, however, he could also see time rotating in for Chandler Jones as a stand-up rusher. In all, Koonce could project as somewhat of a breakout candidate for the team’s defense.
  • On a different note, the Patriots will use training camp to establish the pecking order at QB behind Mac Jones. The team has veteran Brian Hoyer in the No. 2 spot for now, but fourth round rookie Bailey Zappe will be competing with him for the role. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that at this point, it “seems like a long shot” that the latter will win the backup job. The team preferring the veteran would come as little surprise; Zappe threw for 62 touchdowns last season at Western Kentucky, but is widely regarded as a raw prospect in need of significant developmental time. As Reiss recalls, though, Hoyer himself has experienced unexpectedly winning the backup role as a rookie before, and this could be a key positional battle to watch when training camp begins later this month.

Patriots Re-Sign Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer‘s second stint with the Patriots has been extended. The quarterback has agreed to a two-year, $4MM deal according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Patriots Re-Sign Devin McCourty]

Hoyer’s third stint with the Patriots will continue. Hoyer was brought in last year to mentor Mac Jones and played a role in the rookie’s development. Now, heading into Year Two, the Pats may have a top-10 caliber QB in Jones and a steady veteran backstop behind him.

Brian’s been a really close friend of mine since I’ve gotten here, and I know he’s older than me, and [I] might be closer in age to his son, Garrett, but he’s still a really good mentor, and he just does a great job every week,” Jones said in October (via Jim McBride of The Boston Globe). “He’s super supportive of me and trying to help me in any way he can, and, you know, he’s hard on me sometimes, which is good, so he holds me to a high standard, and then he also has fun and enjoys the game, so he’s been around for a long time, and I think all the quarterbacks in our room have done that, and Brian is just a great example of a great team leader and a great team player.’’

Hoyer, entering his 14th pro year, saw time in five games last year, completing nine of eleven passes. He’ll be re-joined by guard/center James Ferentz, who also agreed to a new deal on Monday, per McBride.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Patriots Sign QB Brian Hoyer To New One-Year Deal

Brian Hoyer is back on the Patriots active roster. The team signed the veteran quarterback to a one-year deal this morning, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). This deal could end up locking Hoyer to the active roster for the rest of the season, but there’s always a chance the team continues to shuffle him on and off their squad.

Hoyer was one of four quarterbacks in Patriots camp, but following the release of Cam Newton and the injury to Jarrett Stidham, the veteran found himself as the primary backup to rookie Mac Jones. However, that still didn’t secure Hoyer a roster spot about the preseason. The team ended up cutting the 35-year-old, although he later landed on the Patriots practice squad in what proved to be a formality. Hoyer was promoted for New England’s Week 1 loss to the Dolphins.

The veteran passer is now on his third stint with the Patriots and will be tasked with mentoring a promising rookie. Hoyer got one start for the Patriots in 2020, when he completed 15 of his 24 passes in a loss to the Chiefs. The quarterback had an interception and a fumble in the game.

This development is probably good news for Garrett Gilbert, who was one of two quarterbacks on the Patriots practice squad. While the team has seemingly settled on Hoyer as the definitive backup, Gilbert probably has a solid hold on his practice squad spot.