With Mac Jones expected to miss some time due to an ankle injury suffered in Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots are preparing contingency plans.
Predictably, the Pats have been mum about exactly how long Jones will be out, but in the meantime, veteran Brian Hoyer is expected to step in with rookie Bailey Zappe waiting in the wings.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Judge said Tuesday the plan is always to tailor the offense to the signal-caller's strengths, but he doesn't expect to rewrite the playbook.
"Obviously, Brian's done a lot of things in his career that maybe we implement, maybe we don't. We don't want to go ahead and completely turn the offense on its head," Judge said, via the Boston Herald. "We feel like we were making some progress. But at the same time, we're going to make sure we put guys in a position to succeed.
"There are things we could do different with Brian versus Mac versus Bailey. Absolutely for all three of them. But does that mean we're going to change our identity, what we're trying to build towards? Not necessarily."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters on Wednesday that they're taking it "day by day" with Jones, adding that the second-year quarterback has made a lot of progress in the past 24-48 hours, per NFL Network's Mike Giardi.
Asked specifically if Jones is dealing with a high ankle sprain, Belichick responded, "What do I look like? A doctor?"
Through three weeks, the Pats offense has been middling in just about every category, ranking 25th in scoring, 13th in rushing yards and 11th passing. Without Jones, it would make sense for the Pats to lean on the backfield tandem of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson.
On Sunday against Green Bay, Hoyer is in line to make his first start since Week 4, 2020 against the Kansas City Chiefs, when he stepped in for then-Pats QB Cam Newton, who was on the reserve/COVID-19 list. In that blowout loss to K.C, Hoyer went 15-of-24 for 130 pass yards and an INT before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the second half. Hoyer hasn't started more than one game in a season since 2017 (0-6 with San Francisco) and has lost his last 11 starts.