The Patriots are expected to sign Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad, according to reports, adding a reinforcement at quarterback.

With Mac Jones (high ankle sprain) and Brian Hoyer (head injury) both dealing with injuries, rookie Bailey Zappe is currently the only healthy quarterback on the roster and is tracking toward making the start against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Gilbert was with the Patriots, first during the 2014-15 season, then again for a short time during the 2021 season. Washington signed him off the Patriots’ practice squad last year.

He went 21 of 30 for 194 yards in one start for Washington and has made previous stops in Carolina, Cleveland and Dallas.

The Patriots should have a better idea about the status of both Jones and Hoyer on Wednesday when the team holds its first practice of the week.

Hoyer, who started against the Packers in Green Bay during Sunday’s overtime loss, is currently in the league’s concussion protocol, so he would have to be cleared before resuming any activity.

Jones, meanwhile, is nursing a high ankle sprain, which typically requires at least four weeks to recover.

So it’s quite possible Zappe, who took over for Hoyer in Green Bay and performed admirably, will be making his first NFL start, with Gilbert as the backup on Sunday against the 1-3 Lions.

During a radio appearance on Monday, the rookie said he’d be ready for whatever lies ahead.

“Really, I’m just treating it like every other week. I’m preparing every day like I have the last three or four weeks,”  said Zappe. “I’m going to continue to work with my teammates, work with my coaches, and continue to watch film, get into the game plan, and get ready for whatever role it is for me on Sunday.”

Garrett Gilbert’s father Gale Gilbert played for the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers. Gale Gilbert is the only player to be in five straight Super Bowls without winning.

THORNTON UPDATE: Wide receivers coach Ross Douglas provided encouraging news on rookie Tyquan Thornton during a video conference.

Thornton, who was placed on injured reserve Week 1 with a collarbone injury, is eligible to be activated this week. If he’s deemed ready, he could return to practice.

While Douglas didn’t know Thornton’s status for this week, he lauded the rookie for how he’s handled his down time.

“One thing about Tyquan, every (day) since he got hurt against Carolina, and he had the collarbone injury, he’s been locked in and dedicated to his rehab process,” Douglas said of Thornton, who was injured in the team’s second preseason game. “He hasn’t been able to do a lot of things physically, but he’s been on top of mental part of the game.”

Douglas said Thornton has been meeting with the coaches in the morning to stay on top of his assignments.

“He’s been watching tape from wide receivers around the league, just on how he can improve his game moving forward,” said Douglas. “But, physically, when will he be ready? It just depends on how he responds to his rehab, and we’ll see where he’s at moving forward.”

Thornton showed promise during training camp and the preseason. While he’s been touted for his 4.28 speed in the 40, he displayed skills as a route runner. While it’s tough for a rookie to miss time at the start, Douglas believes he’s helped by the cast of receivers around him, namely Nelson Agholor, DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, and Kendrick Bourne.

“Tyquan, he really came into a good situation, because we have so many guys in that room who have played a lot of football and have a lot of years in the league,” said Douglas. “It’s a very ideal circumstance for him to continue his development as a young player.”

Thornton, drafted 50th overall by the Patriots, reportedly underwent surgery on Aug. 22, with a recovery timetable of about 6-8 weeks. So it’s in the realm for him to make a return as early as this week, or in the coming weeks.

THROWBACK UNIFORMS: For the first time since 2012, the Patriots will be decked out in red as the team holds its first throwback game of the season.

With the NFL relaxing its rules on helmet variations, the Patriots are the latest team to bring back alternate helmets and jerseys for the 2022 season. The Patriots will do so by bringing back their popular red jerseys and white helmets with the vintage “Pat Patriot” logo for Sunday’s Week 5 matchup against the Detroit Lions.

The NFL had barred the Patriots from changing up their uniforms after installing rules that limited teams to just one style of helmet. The last time the throwbacks appeared was on Oct. 21, 2012, when the Patriots beat the New York Jets in overtime.

The Patriots are set for two throwback games this season, both at home. The next is set for Dec. 1 when the team hosts the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football.

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert, shown when he was with the New England Patriots in 2015, is expected to sign with New England with Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer injured. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

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