New England Patriots

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 05: Jarrett Stidham #4 of the New England Patriots and Brian Hoyer #2 look on before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 05, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth,

While we’ll never know who would have started if the Patriots had to play last week without Cam Newton, there’s still movement at the position behind him in his return.

Brian Hoyer, who was the Patriots backup quarterback for the first three games of the season and started the fourth, is inactive for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Jarrett Stidham, who was inactive for the first three games and served as the backup in KC, is active and will be Newton’s backup.

The Patriots other inactives are running back J.J. Taylor, tight end Dalton Keene, defensive tackle Carl Davis, and defensive back Myles Bryant.

Taylor, a UDFA out of Arizona, had been seeing an increased role in the offense before the Kansas City game, when he was a coach’s decision DNP. The Patriots will have just three running backs active for the game – James White, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris. Harris ran well in his season debut against Kansas City, and with Taylor and Sony Michel (COVID IR) both out, he projects as the top back in traditional offensive sets.

Keene, a third round pick this April, has yet to be active for a game this year. He had been dealing with a neck injury.

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Davis was signed by the Patriots this week of the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. Given the Jags put almost their entire practice squad on COVID reserve on Saturday, it’s possible the Patriots are keeping Davis at arms length as a precautionary measure.

The four players the Patriots recalled off the practice squad will all be active for the game. That includes wide receiver Isaiah Zuber, who has seen his stock rise with the team as the season has gone on. Defensive end Rashod Berry was also recalled, he will be making his NFL debut. Meanwhile, Caleb Benenoch and Nick Thurman will add depth on the interior offensive and defensive lines, respectfully.

Meanwhile, the Broncos will be without two of their top offensive weapons in running back Melvin Gordon and tight end Noah Fant.

After a week delay, the Patriots will finally kick off against the Broncos at 1:00. You can catch the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak.

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Patriots

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at