With Cam Newton on the NFL’s COVID-IR list, Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer is expected to get the start Monday night against the Chiefs in Kansas City.
The Week 4 marquee matchup has lost a bit of its excitement, after the game was rescheduled following positive cases for coronavirus on both teams.
Newton, the lone Patriot to test positive, will miss his first game since earning the starting quarterback job in September. Instead, Hoyer will be asked to make his season debut against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
It’s a tall task for the 34-year-old journeyman, who owns a 16-23 record in 39 starts (including postseason) over his 12-year NFL career, including 10 consecutive losses since 2016. Almost a year has passed since Hoyer’s last NFL start, which was not a good one. In November 2019, as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, he completed just 18 of 39 passes and threw three interceptions (along with a 1-yard touchdown) in a 16-12 loss to the Dolphins.
Monday would mark Hoyer’s first start in a Patriots uniform.
Now back in New England for his third stint with the Patriots, Hoyer has received praise from the coaching staff for his veteran presence. According to quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch, Newton, Hoyer, and 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham have all found ways to help each other out.
“I think when you compete with one another, there’s this perception outside that you have three individual parties really just only worrying about themselves,” Fisch said. “It’s the furthest thing from that. Really what each one of those guys did was help the other one get better.”
Stidham, who has been inactive for the team’s first three games, is the only other quarterback on the 53-man roster. The Patriots also have 6-foot-7-inch Jake Dolegala on the practice squad.
Depending on how he responds to the virus, Newton could also miss New England’s Week 5 matchup against the Denver Broncos. If he is asymptomatic, he could return after five days if he can produce two consecutive negative tests 24 hours apart. Because Newton learned of his positive test Friday, he would have enough time to be cleared.
If he is experiencing symptoms, however, Newton will miss at least 10 days.
The Patriots will have their bye week after hosting the Broncos.
Taking two planes to Kansas City
The Patriots will travel via two planes to Kansas City, ProFootballTalk reported Sunday afternoon. According to the report, the Patriots plan to leave Monday and will take two planes, one with “roughly 20 persons who have had close contact with Newton” and the other with the remainder of the team’s traveling party . . . Before Newton’s positive test, the Chiefs were 7-point favorites against the Patriots. Now? The spread is 11 points, the largest the Patriots have been an underdog since Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams, who were favored by 14 points . . . Cornerback Joejuan Williams and defensive end Chase Winovich were slated to host a virtual game show Monday evening to benefit Boston Medical Center, but the event has been postponed as a result of the rescheduled Patriots-Chiefs matchup. The event, dubbed “Games for Good,” was set to feature current and former Patriots competing in a “Family Feud”-style contest.