Report: Patriots preparing Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer game plans for Packers matchup

Report: Patriots preparing a Mac Jones game plan vs. Packers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

When Bill Belichick said 12 times at Wednesday's press conference that the New England Patriots are taking things "day-by-day" with Mac Jones, apparently he meant it.

The overwhelming expectation is that Jones will miss at least a week due to a "severe" high ankle sprain and that backup quarterback Brian Hoyer will start in Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers. But the Patriots have declined to officially rule Jones out -- to the point where they're reportedly including him in their Week 4 game preparation.

The coaching staff is "preparing two plans" for Sunday's game at Lambeau Field: "one that has Jones at quarterback and another that has Brian Hoyer as the starter," ESPN's Dan Graziano reported Wednesday.

UPDATE: Mac Jones was at the Patriots' facility Thursday participating in game-planning and "has told multiple teammates not to count him out" for Sunday's game, NFL Network's Mike Giardi reports.

Jones didn't participate in Wednesday's practice and reportedly is seeking a second opinion on his ankle, presumably to decide whether he needs surgery. While ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that Jones is "likely to miss multiple games," Graziano noted Jones was scheduled to undergo more testing Tuesday and "possibly Wednesday," and that the team is waiting on the results to determine if he can return sooner than expected.

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While the Patriots have a much better chance of beating the Packers with Jones than with Hoyer, they should be careful with their second-year QB, who also suffered a back injury in Week 1. The benefit of having Jones healthy for the stretch run outruns the risk of Jones reinjuring himself this Sunday after being rushed back for a game that will be difficult to win regardless of who is at quarterback.

It's possible this report is just some gamesmanship on the Patriots' part to make the Packers' defense spend time game-planning for Jones. If offensive play-caller Matt Patricia and the coaching staff are actually logging extra hours to devise a game plan for their injured QB? That doesn't seem like time well-spent.