GREEN BAY, Wis. — Who starts at quarterback for the Patriots next week against Detroit?
Not even they can be sure.
Already without Mac Jones, the Patriots lost backup Brian Hoyer to a head injury after just two drives in Sunday’s 27-24 loss at Green Bay. Hoyer hurt his head when Packers outside linebacker Rashan Gary sacked him midway through the first quarter. Hoyer initially met with medical staffers in a sideline tent before being accompanied to the locker room as he walked under his own power.
He finished 5-of-6 for 37 yards and led the Pats to a field goal and a punt on his two series.
“Brian’s been a great friend to me for a long time in this organization,” Pats center David Andrews said post-game. “I hope he’s OK.”
Fourth-round rookie Bailey Zappe replaced Hoyer for the rest of the game and went 10-of-15 for 99 yards and a touchdown. Teammates praised Zappe, who exceeded expectations even as he took three sacks and the offense sputtered late. Zappe also split reps with Hoyer in practices, according to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.
“Proud of the way he competed,” Andrews said. “I thought he led us well.”
Bill Belichick agreed.
“Thought Bailey really competed well,” Belichick said.
Belichick declined to say who the Patriots’ fourth quarterback would have been Sunday if Zappe had been hurt. With a career passing line of 4-of-4 for 88 yards and two touchdowns, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers figures to be the team’s emergency option when healthy. Meyers was ruled out Saturday with a nagging knee injury.
If Hoyer’s head injury proves to be a concussion that forces him to miss extended time, the Patriots could sign a free agent to the open spot on their active roster.
Journeyman Garrett Gilbert, whom Washington signed off their practice squad last year, is available. Gilbert went 21-of-30 for 194 yards in one start for Washington and has made previous stops in Carolina, Cleveland and Dallas. Former Patriots starter Cam Newton is also unsigned.
Mac Jones was ruled out on Friday with the high ankle sprain he suffered against Baltimore. It is unknown when Jones, who appeared at Friday’s practice but made stationary throws and labored as he walked, might return. High ankle sprains typically require four to six weeks of recovery.