While not much is expected of Brian Hoyer when it comes to the New England Patriots‘ starting quarterback competition, he is still proving to be a capable pro.
With Cam Newton sidelined due to a hand injury last week, there was an opportunity for the Patriots’ other three quarterbacks to shine. Hoyer took advantage of his chance.
Per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Hoyer had the best day of all of the Patriots signal-callers on Thursday. Howe wrote:
Brian Hoyer was second in line for the majority of practice, but he was on the field with a lot of backups so his order in that line is deceiving with that context. Hoyer was 9 of 12 and made some terrific throws, including deep completions to Isaiah Zuber (past Adrian Colbert), Kendrick Bourne at the right sideline and Devin Asiasi over everyone. The throw to Asiasi was the best of the day. Hoyer’s three incompletions included a throwaway due to tight coverage from Jon Jones against Meyers, a batted ball at the line and a pass that hit a leaping Meyers in the hands that would have been a tough contested catch.
Hoyer’s ability to command the offense shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the time he has spent with the organization and in the system. That said, Hoyer isn’t considered the team’s best pure passer, so sights of him throwing frozen ropes to receivers is a pleasant surprise.
Why isn’t Hoyer in the mix to be the No. 1 starter? Because he’s never sustained that sort of performance throughout his career.
Hoyer Comes Back Down to Earth at Minicamp
During the first day of mini-camp in front of the media, and with most of the top defensive players present and on the field, Hoyer’s fortunes shifted.
As Howe wrote, Hoyer was only able to complete 33% of his passes in limited opportunities, and he had a turnover.
Brian Hoyer was 2 of 6 with a drop and an interception to Kyle Van Noy. Not sure what Hoyer was doing on the play, but he threw off his back foot due to quick pressure and it was an easy catch for the linebacker.
That sounds too much like the performance in Week 3 of the 2020 season when Hoyer was so bad on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs that he was banished from the active roster for most of the remainder of the year. Take a look at ESPN Get Up’s breakdown of how poorly Hoyer played in that loss to the Chiefs that signaled the downward trend for the team on a whole.
Bill Belichick Explains the Benefit of Having Four Quarterbacks
Many expect the Patriots to release one of their four quarterbacks as they rarely carry more than three. More than likely Cam Newton won’t be the odd man out, and it definitely won’t be first-round pick Mac Jones.
That leaves Hoyer and third-year-pro Jarrett Stidham fighting for the third, and perhaps final QB spot.
However, Bill Belichick recently spoke at length during a media session about the benefits of having depth at the position, and what each quarterback brings to the roster.
That’s really a situation at every position. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about 13 offensive linemen or eight defensive tackles or four quarterbacks or nine receivers. It’s hard to get everybody the right amount of work or to get them the high volume but I think you just try to balance that out and give everybody an opportunity, try to spread the reps out and it’s very important for players at every position to learn from the guy who’s taking the reps. So, even though they’re not in there taking it, mentally they can still take it and still go through the process and in the quarterback’s case, is pre-snap keys and real-time timing, rather than watching it on film and that kind of thing, but real-time timing of, ‘Alright, here’s what happens when the ball snapped, here’s what I see, here’s where I go with the ball,’ but again, that’s true of every position. So, that’s what a good player will do. That’s what a good professional will do. They’ll take advantage of every rep, whether they’re in there or not, and then take advantage of the ones that they are in there on the field for. We emphasize that with all players and the place that they get, they get and the team needs depth and you never know what’s going to happen at any position. You can go from very quickly to having too many to not having enough. And so, at this point in time, we feel like all those players are good players and Brian [Hoyer] has the most experience and Cam [Newton] had a lot of experience from last year and Jarrett’s [Stidham] had some off and on opportunities but he’ll continue to get opportunities and so will Mac [Jones]. So, we’ll just see how it goes.
Will this thought process guarantee Hoyer and Stidham remain on the team? Probably not, but there would appear to be a logical train of thought that supports keeping each guy.
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