The New England Patriots have been ravaged by injuries this season and they have now added another name to the long list on Injured Reserve.
With Mac Jones dealing with a severe high ankle sprain, Brian Hoyer got his first start of the season in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. That season debut only lasted shortly as Hoyer was knocked out of the game with a head injury.
Now Hoyer has been placed on Injured Reserve and will miss the next four games at a minimum as he deals with the concussion he sustained in Green Bay.
Who Will Start for the Patriots in Week 5?
With Hoyer out and Jones still recovering from the high ankle sprain, Bailey Zappe will get his first NFL start when New England faces Detroit.
The rookie quarterback did a good job in his relief efforts against the Packers. Zappe threw for 99 yards and a touchdown per Pro Football Reference.
In his first start, Zappe expects to continue to rely on his teammates who have much more experience than him. It worked out against the Packers and fans will be hoping it works again against the Lions.
“I’m going to lean on my teammates a lot,” Zappe said. “They really helped me a lot against the Packers. I’m going to lean on them even more in this upcoming game or whenever it is. There are some things I’ve learned with my fundamentals, being able to calm myself down. I’m continuing to focus on my job.”
Bill Belichick also spoke about how Zappe has improved as a quarterback in practice this past week.
He’s gotten a lot more snaps [in practice], which is always a good thing for a quarterback in timing and communication,” Belichick said. “So he’s definitely making progress with more experience and more opportunity.”
NFL and NFLPA at Impasse?
It’s not surprising that the Patriots are being careful with Hoyer after he suffered his concussion. The NFL has come under criticism for its handling of Tua Tagovailoa’s multiple concussions.
The NFL and NFL Players Association have entered talks to make changes to the league’s concussion protocols. On Friday, The NFLPA announced Friday that it has agreed to changes to the league’s concussion protocol and that it hopes to enact these changes as soon as possible.
“Our union has agreed to change the concussion protocols to protect players from returning to play in the case of any similar incident to what we saw on September 25. We would like these changes to go into effect before this weekend’s games to immediately protect the players and hope the NFL accepts the change before then as well,” read the statement from the NFLPA.
The NFL also released a statement on Friday.
“As we have discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the joint NFL-NFLPA protocols are necessary to further enhance player safety,” the NFL said in the statement on Friday. “We have already spoken to members of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the leadership of the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants and Independent Certified Athletic Trainers who serve as spotters to discuss these likely changes.”