Report: Mac Jones unlikely to play vs. Lions; Bailey Zappe could start

Is Bailey Zappe ready for an encore?

The New England Patriots’ rookie quarterback was thrust into action Sunday against the Green Bay Packers after Mac Jones’ replacement, Brian Hoyer, suffered a head injury in the first quarter. Zappe performed admirably, completing 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown pass in New England’s overtime loss.

Now, it appears Zappe could make his first career NFL start in Week 5. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports Jones is “unlikely” to play against the Detroit Lions due to the ankle injury he suffered in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens. While Hoyer’s status is unclear, the Patriots apparently would feel comfortable with Zappe taking the reins Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

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“‘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.

The Patriots reportedly are expected to sign veteran backup Garrett Gilbert to their practice squad, and they’d likely promote Gilbert to the active roster if Hoyer can’t play Sunday. But the 23-year-old Zappe has three quarters of game experience with New England under his belt, as well as the full support of his teammates.

“That’s the first time he’s been active all season. You throw him into that situation and he doesn’t flinch,” Patriots special teamer and co-captain Matthew…

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