The New England Patriots are preparing to embark on the Brian Hoyer era with starting quarterback Mac Jones likely out of commission for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
That’s obviously putting it mildly considering he’s dealing with a “severe” high ankle sprain that could keep him out for much longer. He’s reportedly seeking a second opinion in hopes of avoiding surgery, which means the timetable could be extended even further if he’s counting on the injury to heal through natural means.
That means more Hoyer and more headaches for the Patriots.
The team likely isn’t pulling off a trade for Gardner Minshew or some other backup out there hoping for an opportunity to start under center. Sorry, Minshew fans.
But if the Hoyer experiment gets absolutely annihilated by the Green Bay Packers in Week 4, maybe coach Bill Belichick considers dipping into the free agent pool and seeing who he could hand another lifeline.
Here are three quarterbacks that could be the emergency backup option to the emergency backup option.
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If the Patriots need some magic, it only makes sense they’d call up the guy that has started under center for every other team in the AFC East but them.
Ryan Fitzpatrick toes the line between elite and “what were we thinking?” There is no in between for the football artist formerly known as “FitzMagic.” He might throw four interceptions in a game and get blown out one week, and then the next week, he’ll throw for 400-plus yards and five touchdowns to topple the best team in the conference.
Things have become desperate enough where the Patriots could use that sort of hope right now. Fitzpatrick is currently enjoying his retirement from football, but under the right circumstances, he could show the world that he clearly still has some magic left in the old throwing arm.
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I know I said the Patriots probably aren’t picking up the phone and calling Cam Newton, but he does deserve a spot on this list of Plan C options. There’s familiarity there with players and the coaching staff. And we all know how much Belichick loves familiarity.
Newton also offers a dual threat option under center, which could offset some of the separation issues with the Patriots’ receivers and opposing defensive backs. It sure beats throwing rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe into the fire long before he’s ready.
It’s a win-win scenario because it gives the Patriots another option, along with positioning Newton back in the public eye as a legitimate quarterback in the NFL. Injuries may have robbed him of the physical gifts he used to win a league MVP and carry the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance, but at only 33 years old, it’s easy to see why he hasn’t retired yet.
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Some of you might be rolling your eyes right now, but Colin Kaepernick would be a much more fun Hail Mary signing than Blake Bortles, Mike Glennon and many of the other free agent options floating around out there.
The Patriots have faced enough media storms to be considered elite storm chasers at this point. Guys might be singing “Kumbaya” in the locker room right now, but that clearly hasn’t always been the case for a team that played through Spygate, Deflategate and endless rumors of inner-drama leading to the Tom Brady and Belichick split.
The Patriots are one of the few teams that could take on a player like Kaepernick and drown out the noise. Like Newton, there’s the dual threat abilities, but it would come without the familiarity. There’s also the fact that Kaepernick hasn’t thrown a pass in a meaningful game in over five years.