The New England Patriots are going to be without their starting QB, Mac Jones, for a bit. How long? Well, we don't quite know as of right now.

X-rays on Jones' injured right ankle came back negative after yesterday's 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, in which Jones injured his ankle on his final pass attempt. The pass was picked off by the Ravens' D, one of three interceptions tossed by Jones Sunday afternoon.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero today reported that Jones suffered a "pretty severe" high ankle sprain and the hope is he will not need surgery, however the timetable for recovery is still TBD. The team is concerned Jones may have suffered ligament and/or tendon damage in the ankle.

Ian Rapaport, also of NFL Network, even suggested an IR stint is not out of the realm of possibility for the second-year QB, which would result in Jones missing at least four games

So while nothing is officially known (other than the fact it's not a break) it seems like a safe bet to assume the Pats will be without their starting QB at least this Sunday at Green Bay, and likely for a couple more games to follow.

With that harsh reality beginning to set in, what should Bill Belichick and the Patriots do now? Sure, the easy answer is "next man up." Plug in Brian Hoyer and hope to be as competitive as possible until Jones returns. But Hoyer hasn't won a game as a starting QB since Oct. 2016 and looked severely overmatched in his one career start for the Pats, which came in emergency relief during the 2020 season at Kansas City after Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 midweek.

Let's not forget about rookie Bailey Zappe, either. It's likely that the fourth round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft would not get thrown into action right away, but could be an option if Jones' injury continues to linger.

There's also the option of tanking, which seems almost blasphemous to suggest still fresh on the heels of a 20-year dynasty. But let's be real, even with Jones in there through three games did the Pats look capable of competing for much this season? Should Jones miss 3-5 games (usually the timetable for a bad sprain), chances are the Pats might have twice as many losses as wins by the time the calendar flips to November.

What do you think? What's the best course of action for this team to now take?

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