If Mac Jones can’t play Sunday for the Patriots visit to Green Bay, veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer will start in his place.
But Bill Belichick is still leaving open the possibility that his second-year quarterback will be ready to go.
That’s about as much as the Patriots coach was wiling to share about the status of the left leg injury that’s left Jones in danger of missing the first start of his career.
“Definitely getting better,” Belichick said of Jones. “Made a lot of progress here in the last 48 hours. So keep plugging away and taking it day by day and see how it goes.”
Jones was not present during the portion of practice open to reporters on Wednesday. Belichick also declined to confirm whether Jones’ injury was a high ankle sprain,
“What do I look like, a doctor? An orthopedic surgeon? Like, I don’t know. Talk to the medical experts,” he said.
What have those experts conveyed?
“Day by day,” Belichick said “They’ll evaluate him. What difference does it make to me? You think I’m going to read the MRI? That’s not my job.”
If the job of running the Patriots offence does fall to Hoyer, though, Belichick said his confidence in the 36-year-old’s ability to lead the offence is high.
Hoyer has made starts for seven NFL teams during his 14-year career, but has lost his past 11 and amassed a record of just 16-23. The 2020 start he made for New England in its loss at Kansas City was his lone start with the Patriots. He stepped in that day for Cam Newton, who was out with COVID-19.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said they’ll do what’s necessary to prepare to face either Jones or Hoyer. His brother, Jets offensive co-ordinator Mike LaFleur, was on the staff in Cleveland in 2014 when Hoyer started 13 games this season.
Matt LaFleur said he recalls watching clips of Hoyer from that season and “you thought he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league.”