FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots players obviously don’t feel great about Mac Jones potentially missing time due to a left ankle injury. But they have nothing but great things to say about Brian Hoyer — publicly, anyway — who could be thrust into the starting role if Jones is forced to sit.
A veteran with 13 years of NFL experience under his belt, Hoyer has spent parts of seven seasons in New England and knows the Patriots’ playbook as well as anyone. His last NFL start came in 2020 when he put forth a disastrous effort against the Kansas City Chiefs while filling in for Cam Newton.
After Sunday’s 37-26 loss to the Baltimore, Patriots players were asked for their thoughts on Hoyer with Jones reportedly facing a potential stint on injured reserve.
Kendrick Bourne: “I have confidence in him. Brian has a good relationship with the Patriots and this team overall. … Whatever happens, next man up.”
Jonnu Smith: “Next man up. Next-man-up mentality. Hoyer knows that. We fully confident in whoever we got out on that field with all 11. That’s why they assembled the team they assembled. We believe in each other, man.”
DeVante Parker: “Brian Hoyer, he’s a leader. He’s a vet, so he knows the defenses. He’s seen it all. … He’ll just come out here and do what he can to help the team.”
David Andrews: “Tons (of confidence in Hoyer). Brian’s been here a long time. Got a lot of respect for how he comes in and works every day, prepares like he is going to play.”
Nelson Agholor: “100% (confidence in Hoyer). You’re talking about a guy who has 10-plus years in this league. I think he’s a great quarterback and he has great ability. … He’ll be ready to go.”
Bourne offered additional, slightly more in-depth remarks on Hoyer, with whom he played in 2017 as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers.
“Great leader,” he said of Hoyer. “I played with Brian my rookie year, great leader. Taught me a lot. Right next to him (in the locker room), so, I always talk to him every day. And yeah, I think he’ll be ready. I pray Mac’s OK but, like I said, next man up and I think Brian’s a natural leader. … I was a young guy and he just was motivating me a lot, telling me I got a lot of potential. … He kind of saw what I couldn’t see back then.”
Bourne added: “Longevity is key, and that’s definitely something I learned from him.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick refused to offer an update on Jones during a Monday morning Zoom call. He also had little to say when asked about Hoyer’s ability to handle the starting role.
“Brian’s got a lot of experience in the offense,” he said.
Belichick had even less to say about rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, who currently is line to be Hoyer’s top backup.
“He’s gotten a lot better,” Belichick said of the fourth-round pick.
It’s worth reiterating that nothing is set in stone for the Patriots. We still don’t have a clear picture of Jones’s status for this Sunday’s road game against the Green Bay Packers, and New England might add a free agent quarterback this week.
With that in mind, we compiled a list of quarterbacks currently available on the open market — including old friend Cam Newton.