The New England Patriots lost more than the game against the Ravens. During the final play, Mac Jones injured his ankle as he tossed his third interception. Fans pray for a speedy recovery, but who does Bill have in mind to replace the sophomore stud?
This was supposed to be the week things turned around. This game was going to be the launchpad into success. Through three quarters, it was looking to be that way. And while there were periods of good play on both sides of the ball, unfortunately, that was not the case.
The Pats lost, but even more significantly Mac Jones suffered an injury in the final play. He hobbled off the field, unable to put pressure on his leg. A picture is worth a thousand words; this picture of Mac leaves fans with one pain.
Today, Mac spoke with the media about Sunday’s game. A reporter directed the first question toward how he felt a day later. Jones responded with a very Belichickian remark, showing how much he has adapted to the Patriot way.
He may feel great, but that means nothing. Luckily, the injury looks to be a high ankle sprain after investigation, which, while not great, isn’t a fracture or a tear. However, most likely, Jones will miss a chunk of time, and at the very least will not be taking the field in Lambeau with the team in all likelihood. The depth chart has two other quarterbacks, but which one should start?
Hoyer Needs to Stay on the Sidelines
My friends and I listened to talk radio on our way home from the game. It was not my decision. The hosts proclaimed that the Patriots’ future is in better hands with Hoyer than Zappe, and were even implying that it wasn’t a huge step down from Mac. I almost ripped out his stereo.
Brian Hoyer is not a good quarterback. Do fans remember the last time he started a game for the Patriots? He started against the Chiefs in 2020 due to Cam Newton contracting COVID. Then, fans said the same thing they say now about how Hoyer gives the team a great chance to win.
Hoyer threw 24 passes, 15 completed passes, for 131 yards and an interception. His sack as the first half ended – while the Patriots were in FG range to tie the game – sent Patriots Nation into hysteria. Cam Newton gave the team a better shot to win that game. There’s a reason that Hoyer has been a career backup, and while he certainly has a good command of the offense and a lot of experience, he has been 0-11 in his last 11 starts and doesn’t have the arm right now to supplement that experience.
It’s time for a change.
The Patriots need a Zappe into the offense.
Belichick drafted Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 draft. A season later, he drafted another quarterback with the 137th overall pick. Bailey Zappe shined at Western Kentucky, breaking numerous FBS passing records, including most yards and touchdowns in a season.
Zappe played well in training camp, earning a spot on the roster. In the preseason games, Zappe struggled with adapting to the professional level. However, he progressed just enough to secure a place on the roster and showed some serious improvement. He started to show the poise that led him to success in college as well as some zippy throws to go along with it.
Belichick told the media that he has confidence in Zappe. He has faith in all of his players. That is why they are on the roster, especially with such a competitive selection this year.
I spoke about this situation on the latest episode of the Gillette Gazette Podcast. The Patriots need to look towards the future. Starting Hoyer, it sends them back to the past. Zappe must begin within the next few weeks to give him that NFL experience. It allows him to grow from the mistakes he made throughout the preseason. The situations in practice transform into actual live gameplay. In situations like this, it’s important to not just consider the floor, but also the ceiling, and Zappe’s ceiling gives a better chance for the Patriots to win.
The Patriots Could Make a Call to Vegas for a Shocking Return
Before Zappe walked on the Gillette turf, Jarett Stidham was the talk around Patriot Place. New England drafted Stidham in 2019, Brady’s final season as a Patriot. He seemed like the transition from prince to king was inevitable. However, he wasn’t ready.
Stidham played five games for New England in 2020. He completed half of his passes for 256 yards and two scores. He did his job, but not well enough to secure the starting spot. Then, a year later, Mac Jones walked across the draft stage, putting the nail in the coffin.
With Mac gone for a few weeks, why not send Hoyer and a pick to Las Vegas? Stidham was already traded to the Raiders by the Patriots. The NFL doesn’t have a return policy? They should for moments like this. While he didn’t have the decision-making at the time to make it really count, Stidham has a great raw arm, and has showed his gorgeous spiral at all distances at Baylor, Auburn, New England and now Las Vegas.
Patriots fans can only pray for a speedy recovery. Even if he hasn’t been perfect, Mac has shown improvement and poise, and even with other options out there to play in his absence, he is the future of the franchise. The following week will be filled with anticipation. Belichick has a plan. He will tell the public when he sees fit. His timeline differs from ours.
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