Brian Hoyer will likely start at quarterback for the Patriots this Sunday with Mac Jones dealing with an ankle injury. Hoyer’s teammates are confident he can do the job. Doug Murray/Associated Press

Speaking with Brian Hoyer a few weeks ago, the New England Patriots backup quarterback told the Boston Herald that while he enjoyed his role being a mentor and sounding board for second-year quarterback Mac Jones, part of him missed being the starter.

“It’s fun to go out there and be in charge,” Hoyer said, cracking a smile not long after finishing a practice where he took over for Jones, who was sick that day.

Well, the popular veteran can ditch the backup title for a bit. It’s Hoyer time now.

With Jones injured and likely to miss multiple games with a “pretty severe” high ankle sprain, according to reports, it’s time for Hoyer to go out there and have a little fun.

“When you’re not the starter . . . you never know when you’re going to go in there,” Hoyer said a few weeks ago. “You try to prepare the most you can during the week. Whatever happens, happens, and you go from there.”

The veteran quarterback, who has had three separate tours with the Patriots during his 14 seasons, will hold down the fort during Jones’ absence for however long that takes. That’s what’s happening.


And following the loss to the Ravens, Patriot players all expressed confidence in Hoyer in the event they’d have to move on without Jones, which is now the likelihood.

“He’s a leader. He’s a vet. He knows the defenses. He’s seen it all,” wide receiver DeVante Parker said when asked about Hoyer following the game. “If anything happens, he’ll come out and do what he can to help the team.”

Hoyer, who turns 37 next month, has seen it all, playing with eight different teams. He’s pretty much been a pseudo-coach for Jones helping him with the offense.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who played with Hoyer as a rookie with the 49ers, said he thought the veteran was a great leader and would be “ready” for the challenge.

“I have confidence in him,” said Bourne. “Brian has a good relationship with the Patriots and this team overall, this 2022 team. So whatever happens, next man up. That’s all I can say.”

Tight end Jonnu Smith agreed.


“Next man up. It’s a next man up mentality. Everyone knows that,” said Smith. “We’re fully confident in whoever we got out on that field . . . we believe in each other. So we’d have no problem with (Brian).”

Record-wise, Hoyer has lost his last 11 starts dating back to 2016. Of course, all of those losses aren’t on him, or the truest indicator of his performance. More recently, however, Hoyer didn’t fare particularly well during a last-minute start against the Kansas City. It came during the 2020 season when Cam Newton had COVID-19.

Hoyer was pulled largely due to having clock management issues in the red zone. Pundits were tough on him. He wasn’t given any breaks for finding out just a few days before he was going to start.

No matter, center David Andrews isn’t holding that against him. He said he had “tons” of faith in Hoyer.

“Brian has been here for a long time,” Andrews said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for how he comes in, works every day and prepares like he is going to play.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater, speaking on a video call Monday, says it’s tough to lose a quarterback of Jones’ caliber.


“It’s challenging, but you know, we have confidence in all the quarterbacks on our roster,” said Slater, who then referred to Hoyer by his given first name. “I’ve been with Axel for 14 years now. I’ve known Axel for 14 years and been a teammate of his off and on over that period of time. We get a lot of confidence in here in him.”

Running back Damien Harris, meanwhile, didn’t want to talk about “what ifs” and Hoyer specifically, but was confident the Patriots would deal with whatever adversity they may face.

“We’re confident that any time we step on the field, we have a chance,” Harris said. “We’ve got great coaches. We’ve got a great scheme. And we’ve got great players.”

Linebacker Matthew Judon was matter-of-fact: “Whoever we gotta play with, is who we gotta play with.”

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