The Patriots are bringing in quarterback Garrett Gilbert for a third stint on their practice squad, and he will likely sign Wednesday morning, a league source confirmed.
New England needs another quarterback with the status of Mac Jones (high ankle sprain) and Brian Hoyer (concussion) uncertain for Sunday’s home game against the Lions. Rookie Bailey Zappe took over early in this past Sunday’s game against the Packers when Hoyer was injured.
The Patriots released receiver Laquon Treadwell to open a practice squad spot for Gilbert.
Gilbert was with New England in 2014 and again briefly in 2021 before he was plucked by Washington to be an emergency starter when its quarterbacks, Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen, were placed on the COVID-19 list.
The well-traveled Gilbert (he’s been with eight NFL teams) signed with the Raiders in March but was released when, coincidentally, Las Vegas traded for Patriots backup Jarrett Stidham.
Gilbert was originally drafted by the Rams in 2014 before being released early that season. He joined the Patriots practice squad in December and was with the team as it won its fifth Super Bowl.
He also has been with the Lions, Panthers, Browns, and Cowboys. In addition to the start he made with Washington, he started a game for Dallas in 2020.
For his career, Gilbert has completed 43 of 75 passes for 477 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Considering he had just four days to prepare, Gilbert did an admirable job running Washington’s offense back in 2021. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 194 yards with no turnovers in a 27-17 loss to the Eagles.
Jones said after Gilbert’s start that he appreciated their time together.
“Garrett was a great help to me in the quarterback room,” Jones said then. “He’s a great teammate. He played really well and he got a chance to go out there and spin it around, so we’re all happy for him. He was very nice to me and everybody in our quarterback room and provided a lot of great information.”
The Patriots followed an age-old recipe for success on their two second-half touchdowns Sunday, playing smashmouth football with their backs to set up passes.
It felt like a throwback game, which was appropriate given that they were playing on the classic NFL stage that is Lambeau Field.
On the first score, Damien Harris rushed four straight times (for 30 yards), setting up Zappe’s 25-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. On the second, Rhamondre Stevenson had four consecutive totes (for 36 yards), setting up Zappe’s 21-yard toss to Nelson Agholor. Harris finished the march with a 5-yard scoring run.
Though there were some outside stretch runs featured, Harris and Stevenson found running room on the inside, a fact not lost on David Andrews, who pointed out that there was a false narrative out there that the Patriots had switched exclusively to a zone running scheme.
“Look, a good offense does it all,” said the Patriots center. “And in my career, I’ve done it all here. Running outside zones, running downhill with pullbacks. I mean, it’s just like, this is football and part of the plays stay the same. You dress them up differently, but core plays are core plays in football going back to the 1920s, and it looks a lot different, but it’s the same concepts over and over.”
Andrews emphasized that no matter the variety of plays, there’s still one goal.
“Whatever we can do as an offense to help us win,” he said. “Sometimes it’s downhill gap runs, pin and pool plays, tosses, outside [runs], screens, you know, whatever we have to do, it really doesn’t matter to us. Let’s just go win the game.”
The Patriots worked out former Boston College offensive tackle Ben Petrula and linebackers Tae Davis, Blake Lynch, and Dorian O’Daniel … A reminder: The Patriots will be wearing their throwback uniforms, featuring white Pat Patriot helmets and red jerseys, for Sunday’s game against the Lions. They also will wear them against the Bills Dec. 1.