Belichick: Hoyer will start if Jones can’t play vs. Packers

Sep 27, 2022, 10:52 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2022, 7:41 am
New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (5) winds up for a pass near quarterback Bailey Zappe ...

New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (5) winds up for a pass near quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

              New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer removes his helmet during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
            
              New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer passes the ball during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
            
              New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (5) winds up for a pass near quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
            
              New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) is helped off the field after suffering a leg injury with less than two minutes to play in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
            
              New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, left, is brought down by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell, right, in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. Jones limped to the sideline following the play. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — 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 ankle 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 did not participate in Wednesday’s practice and 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.”

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.

“I’ve played for 14 years, I have a lot of bad memories. I have a lot of good memories, too,” Hoyer said. “One game doesn’t define me. One play doesn’t define me. I’m excited for any opportunity I get a chance to go play. So, I really could care less about that.”

Belichick said his confidence in the 36-year-old’s ability to lead the offense is high.

“He knows it better than anybody from an overall experience standpoint,” Belichick said. “This year is this year. But Brian’s had a lot of experience. Been in a lot of different systems. Seen a lot of football. Taken a lot of snaps for us in various capacities. Played well in the preseason. If we need him to go, he’ll be ready to go.”

Hoyer did acknowledge that there was a difference this time around, with him starting the practice week taking reps with the first team and with a higher probability he’ll be playing Sunday. He said he also took first-team reps last week when Jones missed practice with an illness.

“It’s obviously more beneficial than finding out on Saturday morning that Cam has COVID and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I have COVID, I was around him all day.’ That was a unique year and a unique situation,” Hoyer said.

“For me, if I get to take more practice reps, then obviously it’s more beneficial. Coach Belichick always says, ‘Practice execution becomes game day reality.'”

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said they’ll do what’s necessary to prepare to face either Jones or Hoyer. His brother, Jets offensive coordinator 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.”

“You’ve just got to do the best job you can. It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Brian Hoyer is a guy I’ve got 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. That always presents some challenges in terms of when you have a veteran before a more inexperienced player, although I don’t want to take anything away from Mac. Mac’s been unbelievable honestly, having a Pro Bowl year and doing some great things this year as well.

“Whoever’s out there, you’ve just got to adjust and adapt.”

Belichick said he isn’t concerned about Jones’ potential absence having an emotional impact on the locker room.

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

NOTES: Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy also sat out Wednesday’s practice with a shoulder injury he sustained in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore. He has missed just four starts in his six seasons with the Patriots.

___

AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Green Bay, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris, left, Tyrese Maxey, center, and James Harden, right, look on fro...
Associated Press

Sixers’ Harden to return Monday against Rockets after injury

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden will return Monday night for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Houston Rockets after missing 14 games with a foot injury. Harden, who spent just more than eight seasons with the Rockets before being traded to Brooklyn in January 2021, last played Nov. 2. He had a tendon strain in his […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Blake scores 20, Green Bay beats IUPUI 68-61

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Zae Blake scored 20 points to help Green Bay defeat IUPUI 68-61 on Monday. Blake added three steals for the Phoenix (1-7). Clarence Cummings III scored 16 points, going 6 of 13 from the floor, including 2 for 5 from distance, and 2 for 5 from the line. Garren Davis […]
16 hours ago
Ydamelys Moreno, right, watches as fellow female boxers train in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022...
Associated Press

Boxing powerhouse Cuba lets women boxers compete

HAVANA (AP) — Legnis Cala Massó carefully removes her necklace and smiles as her coach slides her bright red boxing gloves over her French tip nails. The 31-year-old swings her wiry body into the ring and pounds her fellow boxer – also a young woman – with a series of punches, just as she’s done […]
16 hours ago
Baltimore Ravens players celebrate a touchdown by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) in...
Associated Press

Jackson’s injury a concern, but Ravens’ defense playing well

BALTIMORE (AP) — Thanks to Lamar Jackson’s injury and a surging Cincinnati team, the Baltimore Ravens suddenly have their work cut out for them if they want to win the AFC North. They did, however, take another step in that direction last weekend. The Ravens rallied late to edge the Broncos 10-9, and although Denver’s […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Germany's manager Oliver Bierhoff, left, talks to coaches besides head coach Hans Flick, rig...
Associated Press

Bierhoff resigns as director of Germany’s teams, academy

BERLIN (AP) — Oliver Bierhoff is the first managerial casualty of Germany’s early World Cup exit after agreeing to resign as managing director of the country’s national soccer teams and academy. The German soccer federation said on Monday that Bierhoff agreed to prematurely end his contract. It was due to run through the 2024 European […]
16 hours ago
South Korea's Son Heung-min, left, greets Brazil's Neymar before the start of the World Cup round o...
Associated Press

Son exits World Cup without showing his best for South Korea

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — As Brazil’s big-time player made his return to the World Cup in Qatar, the superstar of South Korean soccer made his exit. Son Heung-min is his country’s Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and, yes, Neymar, all wrapped up into one. Yet as Neymar recovered from an ankle injury to score in Brazil’s […]
16 hours ago
Belichick: Hoyer will start if Jones can’t play vs. Packers