The Patriots went into week three in hopes of getting another game in the win column. Not only did that not happen, but now they need to plan for the weeks ahead without their starting quarterback.
How New England lost on Sunday was bad enough. The same issues they’ve been inflicting upon themselves all season continued and secured them another loss. The cherry on top of the unfavorable day came late in the fourth quarter, on what would be their final drive. Mac Jones was brought down awkwardly by Calais Campbell who fell onto the quarterback’s leg. Jones would immediately grab his ankle in pain, hopping on one leg to the sideline and going straight to the locker room.
Initial reports stated that Jones had suffered what appeared to be a severe ankle sprain, with x-rays coming back negative for any breaks/fractures. More tests were done on Monday and are said to have confirmed the originally reported injury.
Both Bill Belichick and Jones spoke to the media Monday afternoon, but in typical Patriots fashion offered little to no clarity on the quarterback’s injury.
Regardless of the limited information that has been provided thus far, it is fair to assume Jones will not play for the foreseeable future. Brian Hoyer has been announced to start at quarterback in week four at Green Bay and likely throughout Jones’ absence unless something drastic occurs and Belichick decides to go with rookie Bailey Zappe.
As more information will (hopefully) trickle out over the next few days, it should shed more light on what Jones and the Patriots plan to do regarding Jones’ recovery. Missing the next game against a tough opponent like the Packers is certainly a big loss for the struggling Patriots team.
However, if Jones does need to miss multiple weeks, whether due to rest and recovery naturally or from surgery, the next month of games gives New England a fair shot to get back in the win column.
What does the rest of the Patriots season look like with Jones injured?
With the announcement of Hoyer taking over at quarterback, not many feel optimistic about what the veteran will accomplish in Jones’ absence. The last game he started for the Patriots was a game in Kansas City in October of 2020, the one game Cam Newton missed due to COVID-19.
It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was an all-out mess. Not all blame should be placed on Hoyer’s shoulders, however, as Jarrett Stidham contributed to the disaster that was this game. And many felt if Newton had played, the Patriots would’ve easily won.
But that was two years ago and was a unique time in sports. Not only was it a year with no fans in attendance, but the Patriots were going through their first year without Brady and the game had been rescheduled due to outbreaks within the league. Given the circumstances, it’s not the best measuring stick to decide how Hoyer will fare in any game this season.
With the Packers on the docket for this weekend, the veteran mentality Hoyer has will become a bigger asset than what most may be anticipating. The mystique that is playing in Green Bay and going against Aaron Rodgers won’t be too much for him to handle. A full week to prepare rather than just a few days will certainly be a positive for the team as well.
As the season progresses to week five and beyond, the Patriots are set to play:
- Week five vs Detroit Lions
- Week six at Cleveland Browns
- Week seven vs Chicago Bears
- Week eight at New York Jets
- Week nine vs Indianapolis Colts
Facing the Packers will be their most difficult game of the bunch. The following five teams have had roller-coaster seasons in the same way New England has, giving Hoyer a better chance of adding wins if he does indeed play in those games.
Because the offense has continued to be the more questionable part of the Patriots though, the defense will need to be prepared to step up more than usual in the weeks ahead. If they’re able to keep the game from getting too out of hand, they could be more successful than what the assumption is at this point.
Winning even half of those games, if Jones is out until the bye in week ten, would be impressive. It won’t necessarily keep the Patriots afloat in the AFC, but stacking more wins than losses should be deemed successful.