FOXBORO, Mass. — Mac Jones wasn’t just the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback in Tuesday’s practice. He was their only quarterback.
Veteran QB Brian Hoyer, expected to be Jones’ top backup this season after the team released Cam Newton, was not present at New England’s cutdown-day practice outside Gillette Stadium.
Hoyer might not be gone for long, though. If he was released, the Patriots could re-sign him as early as Wednesday after moving a player to injured reserve. As a vested veteran, Hoyer does not need to pass through waivers, making him easier to retain than a young player would be.
Teams hoping to bring a player back from IR during the season must include that player on their initial 53-man roster. For the Patriots, wide receiver N’Keal Harry could fall into that category, as he’s working his way back from a shoulder injury. Head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday morning he expects Harry to make a “big contribution” this season, suggesting the wideout was safe from roster cuts.
NFL Media’s Mike Giardi reported Hoyer’s practice absence is “nothing to alarmed about.”
A total of 30 players were absent during the open media portion of Tuesday’s practice, including several whose fates were reported earlier in the day. (Click here for a running list of Patriots roster cuts.)
QB Cam Newton
QB Jarrett Stidham (physically unable to perform list)
QB Brian Hoyer
K Nick Folk
WR N’Keal Harry
WR Kristian Wilkerson
WR Isaiah Zuber
S Cody Davis
CB Stephon Gilmore (PUP)
S Adrian Colbert
S Joshuah Bledsoe (non-football injury list)
CB Michael Jackson
CB Dee Virgin
DB D’Angelo Ross
DB Myles Bryant
LB Cameron McGrone (NFI)
DT Akeem Spence
LB Anfernee Jennings
LB Terez Hall (PUP)
OL Alex Redmond
OL James Ferentz
OL Will Sherman
OT Korey Cunningham
TE Matt LaCosse
WR Tre Nixon
DT Montravius Adams
DT Nick Thurman
DT Tashawn Bower
DT Bill Murray
DT Byron Cowart (PUP)
Beyond Hoyer, the most notable absentees on that list were Davis and Jennings.
Davis missed practice with an illness, according to a report from the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels. Jennings, a 2020 third-round draft pick who dealt with injuries throughout training camp, is an IR candidate.
The Patriots reportedly traded for Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Yasir Durant on Monday, but Durant was not spotted at practice Tuesday.
Though New England’s roster can and likely will change in the 12 days before its season opener against the Miami Dolphins, players who were present at practice Tuesday likely made the initial 53. That group included running back Brandon Bolden, offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, cornerback Joejuan Williams, defensive lineman Henry Anderson, linebackers Brandon King and Harvey Langi and receiver/punt returner Gunner Olszewski.
Bolden practiced in a red non-contact jersey. Tight end Hunter Henry shed his red jersey after wearing one last week.
The Patriots must finalize their initial roster by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.