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With Jones, Hoyer "unlikely" in Week 5, Bailey Zappe in line for first career NFL start

Mac Jones made some throws but limped around Patriots practice on Wednesday
Mac Jones made some throws but limped around Patriots practice on Wednesday 01:23

FOXBORO -- Bailey Zappe made his NFL debut last Sunday. It sounds like he's in line for his first career start this weekend when the Patriots host the Detroit Lions.

Mac Jones remains "unlikely" to play with his ankle injury, according to ESPN's Dan Graciano, and backup Brian Hoyer's status is unknown after he suffered a head injury last week against Green Bay. That leaves New England's rookie third-stringer as the likely Week 5 starter at quarterback.

After taking over for Hoyer, Zappe completed 10 of his 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown in New England's OT loss to the Packers. The Patriots appear to have confidence that he can carry the load while the rest of the New England QB room recovers.

"'It wasn't too big for him,' is what I'm hearing from the Patriots about Zappe's performance in relief of Hoyer against the Packers last week," Graziano wrote on Wednesday.

Zappe looked comfortable when he was thrust into action last Sunday, and now he'll have a full week of practice as the team's starter. The Patriots had an extremely conservative approach offensively after Zappe went in against the Packers, but maybe they'll open things up against Detroit and the NFL's worst defense. The rookie could be in line for a big game at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

If he does get the start, it would be the first for Zappe since he led Western Kentucky in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 18, 2021. Zappe quarterbacked the Hilltoppers to a 59-38 victory over Appalachian State, throwing for 422 yards and six touchdowns.

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