The New England Patriots put a quarterback on injured reserve this week, but it wasn’t Mac Jones. And he isn’t even officially out for Sunday’s game either.
Injured reserve appeared the former Alabama All-American’s next stop after the X-ray room when he hopped off the field on Sept. 25, unable to put any weight on his left leg after New England’s final offensive snap in a 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
· FORMER ALABAMA PREP STAR BECOMES LAMAR JACKSON
· THURSDAY NIGHT: COLTS BEAT BRONCOS IN NO-TD GAME
· LANDON COLLINS RETURNING TO THE NFL
But Patriots coach Bill Belichick spent four days saying “day-by-day” and “we’ll see” before New England declared one week ago that Jones would not play in the next game.
Instead, Brian Hoyer started at quarterback for the Patriots against the Green Bay Packers. But the 13-year veteran made it through only 15 snaps before sustaining a concussion.
Rookie QB Bailey Zappe finished the 27-24 loss to the Packers for the Patriots on Sunday.
The concussion proved serious enough for Hoyer to be placed on injured reserve on Thursday.
New England’s injury and practice report for this week shows Jones as a limited participant on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and lists his game status as doubtful, a step up from out.
Asked on Friday who would start at quarterback for New England against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Belichick said: “We’ll see.”
RELATED: NFL WEEK 5: SCHEDULE, TV, ODDS
Belichick’s only comments on Jones this week outside the day-by-day/we’ll see family of cliches came on Wednesday, when the coach said: “He’s definitely made progress.”
NFL Network and ESPN reported Jones had suffered a high ankle sprain, but the Patriots have not elaborated on the injury other than the “ankle” listing on the injury and practice participation report.
New England made one other quarterback transaction this week, signing Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad. Gilbert spent 15 weeks of the 2021 season on the Patriots’ practice squad.
With Jones’ doubtful designation, it appears likely Zappe will make his first NFL start on Sunday. If Jones is not in uniform as an emergency backup, the Patriots can elevate Gilbert from the practice squad to have two quarterbacks available.
“He’s gotten a lot more snaps, which is always a good thing for a quarterback and timing and communication,” Belichick said of Zappe. “Definitely making progress with more experience and more opportunity.”
Zappe said Jones had been “very helpful” in helping him prepare.
Last week’s game was the first in Jones’ NFL career that he had not started. After joining New England as the 15th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jones took 1,065 of the Patriots’ 1,106 offensive snaps last season. This year, Jones played every snap in the first three games.
The Patriots and Lions will square off at noon CDT Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Each team has a 1-3 record.
FOR MORE OF AL.COM‘S COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.