Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer took the first-team reps Wednesday at practice and noted that he also did so two weeks ago when starter Mac Jones missed practice with a stomach illness.
“For me it’s fun, you know, to be able to get out there and take some reps with those guys that, you know, something maybe I haven’t done since training camp,” he said. “So I enjoy it. Go through and prepare to play and see how it goes.”
Hoyer said his mind-set doesn’t change just because the number of practice snaps does.
“Whether I get reps or I don’t get reps, you’ve always got to be ready to play,” he said. “As we saw on Sunday, you’re only one play away.
“It’s the nature of your job and the business, so I’m always trying to be as prepared as I can, whether I’m taking every rep in practice or I’m taking none. So it’s just a day-by-day process.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick confirmed that Hoyer would be the starter if Jones (high ankle sprain) can’t play in Green Bay Sunday. Rookie Bailey Zappe would be the backup in that scenario.
Hoyer’s last start for the Patriots came in 2020 when Cam Newton was sidelined by COVID. Hoyer struggled in a Monday night game, going 15 of 24 for 130 yards with an interception and a fumble in a 26-10 loss at Kansas City. He understands that’s the last memory many have of him, but he’s not concerned about it.
“Look, I’ve played for 14 years, I have a lot of bad memories. I have a lot of good memories, too,” he said. “One game doesn’t define me. One play doesn’t define me. I’m excited for any opportunity I get to go play.”
This opportunity could be a lot different. Instead of being tapped as an emergency starter, Hoyer would have the benefit of a week of practice with the starters.
“If I get to take more practice reps, that obviously is beneficial and hopefully you take that,” Hoyer said. “Coach Belichick always says, ‘Practice execution becomes game-day reality.’ I know Julian [Edelman] likes to use that one a lot. I’ve heard it a million times. Obviously, I hope it translates to that.”
Belichick expressed confidence in Hoyer, saying the 14-year veteran “knows the offense better than anyone.” In addition to the Patriots, Hoyer has started games for the Cardinals, Browns, Texans, Bears, 49ers, and Colts.
“Brian has a lot of experience,” Belichick said. “He’s been in a lot of different systems, seen a lot of football, taken a lot of snaps for us in various capacities. I thought he played well in the preseason. If we need him to go, he’ll be ready to go.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur spoke glowingly about Hoyer when meeting with reporters Wednesday.
“I remember watching a lot of the cut-ups — this was a long time ago — from the ‘14 season and you could make the case and take all his great plays that he made and you thought he was one of the top quarterbacks in the league,” LaFleur said.