Mac Jones doubtful vs. Lions, but Bailey Zappe will reportedly start Sunday

Jones will miss his second straight game.

Bailey Zappe will make his first NFL start on Sunday. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Bailey Zappe will reportedly make his first career start on Sunday.

Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones is doubtful due to a high ankle sprain, the team announced Friday. With Brian Hoyer being placed on injured reserve Thursday, Zappe will start Sunday’s game, The Score’s Jordan Schultz reported.

The Patriots fourth-round rookie made his NFL debut in Week 4 against the Packers when he entered the game for an injured Hoyer. Zappe provided New England with a steady hand, completing 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards with a touchdown and a lost fumble in the 27-24 overtime loss.

Zappe spoke like he was preparing to start against the Lions on Wednesday. He said he was going to rely on his veterans ahead of Sunday’s game.

“I’m sure there will be a little bit more comfortability with it, but like I said, I’m going to lean on my teammates a lot,” the Patriots rookie said. “They helped me a lot against the Packers and I’m going to lean on them even more this upcoming game or whenever it is. I’m really excited about just going to practice every day and (getting) better.”


With Zappe in the game last week, the Patriots were heavy on running the ball. They ran the ball 25 times during the snaps Zappe played while the rookie dropped back to pass 18 times.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he wasn’t going to look at the results of certain plays from the Week 4 loss and use them to dictate the game plan for Sunday’s game.

“I would take the breadth of whatever it is we have, and say ‘OK, how does that fit into the opponent that we’re playing and the players that we’re playing with’ and build upwards from there,” Belichick said. “Rather than say ‘Here’s all of the plays we ran, whatever and whittle those down.’

“I don’t even know if those are any good this week. I don’t know. That’s just not the way I would do it. I would build it up to whatever point you think gives your team the best chance to win, whether that’s on offense, defense or special teams. That’s the way I would look at it.”

As for the latest on Jones, Belichick said, “Yeah for sure [he’s improved]. He’s a lot closer than he was last Friday.”

Jones practiced for the third straight day on Friday, but was limited and was ultimately ruled out. He still appeared to be moving with a limp during Friday’s practice. As a matter of fact, Jones departed practice early to receive more treatment on his injured left ankle, the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported Friday.


Defensive linemen Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and DeMarcus Mitchell (concussion) are the only Patriots who’ve been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Tight end Jonnu Smith (ankle) is also doubtful while safety Kyle Dugger (knee), linebacker RaeKwon McMillan (thumb), receiver Jakobi Meyers (knee), corner Jalen Mills (hamstring), safety Adrian Phillps (ribs), and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (hip) are all questionable.

For the Lions, running back D’Andre Swift is among the six players who’ve been ruled out while receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is among six players questionable for Sunday’s game.


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