Quarterback Brian Hoyer, 36 years old, is expected to make his 40th career start against the Packers on Sunday, replacing injured Patriots starter Mac Jones. For Hoyer, it’s no different than any other week.
“My approach is always the same,” Hoyer told reporters Wednesday. “Whether I get reps or not, you always have to be ready to play. As we saw on Sunday, you are only one game away. I mean, that was the last offensive play of the game [when Jones was injured}, so it didn’t really come up that day. But, it’s the nature of your job and the business that we’re in. Always try to be as prepared as I can, whether I’m taking every rep in practice or I’m taking none. It’s just a day-by-day process and how we’re handling it and go from there.”
At one point, a reporter pointed out that Hoyer is still a good player.
Said Hoyer: “I don’t think I’d still be here if I wasn’t, so. . . .”
Jones could still play despite a reported high-ankle sprain. For now, Hoyer is taking the first-team reps at practice, in place of Jones.
“I mean, I did this two Thursdays ago, too,” Hoyer said, in reference to a Thursday practice Jones missed due to illness. “Practiced and ran the whole practice. For me, it’s fun. To be able to get out there and take some reps with those guys, maybe I haven’t done since training camp. I enjoy it. You know, go through and prepare to play, and see how it goes.”
If Hoyer plays, it will be his first start in nearly two years. Replacing Cam Newton (who had COVID) against the Chiefs, Hoyer made a couple of key mistakes against the Chiefs before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham. Hoyer was asked whether he’s anxious to erase that memory.
“I mean look, I’ve played for 14 years,” Hoyer said, “I have a lot of bad memories. I have a lot of good memories, too. One game doesn’t define me, one play doesn’t define me. I’m excited for any opportunity I get to go play. I really could care less about that.”
For now, all he cares about is enjoying the moment.
“At this point, you don’t know how many chances like this you get anymore,” Hoyer said. “So, obviously, it’s a part of the job. You’re always ready to play. So, for me, it’s an opportunity to go out there and have fun, and go out and execute really. Have fun. I really love my teammates, what they do, how hard they work. So an opportunity to go out there and play with those guys.”
That opportunity comes at Lambeau Field, a rare chance for Hoyer to play there.
“Anytime you get a chance to play at Lambeau, I think that’s a pretty cool experience there,” Hoyer said. “I heard Devin [McCourty] talking about it. It is a historical place. A historic organization. . . . It’s a fantastic opportunity. Anytime you can go in there and play. They are obviously a great team. They have gone deep in the playoffs for many years though. They have a great quarterback in Aaron [Rodgers]. Their defence, you see all around, they are very solid. Whether it’s the D-line, the linebackers, the defensive backs. It is a unique challenge. I think I heard today that they are 13-2 in their last 15 home games. So it’s obviously a hostile environment to go into. But it’s also always a good opportunity to see where you are at.”
The Patriots are currently 1-2. It will take a big effort from everyone – including Hoyer or Jones or whoever is playing quarterback – to avoid falling to 1-3.