Brian Hoyer Fights Off Pregame Jitters to Cooly Lead Patriots to Victory Against Jaguars


FOXBORO, Mass. — Brian Hoyer is like car insurance for the Patriots. They hope they never have to use him, but in the event of a disaster, they know they’re in good hands.

The backup quarterback played a very strong game during Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Jaguars, completing 15 of 21 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown to help the Patriots win, 47-12.

He led them on four scoring drives in six first-half possessions and staked the Pats to a 19-9 halftime lead. Hoyer was also very efficient running the two-minute offense to get them in field-goal range before the half, converting on 7 of 10 passes for 56 yards.

Because head coach Bill Belichick is always trying to keep his players ready for any type of situation, Hoyer didn’t know until Thursday’s warm-ups that he’d get the start in place of Tom Brady.

“You just need to be ready,” Hoyer said. “I kind of had a feeling about it. They didn’t really say anything. Then when we were going through warm-ups, I really knew that was the way it was going to be.”

Hoyer was very calm while leading the offense, and he displayed a level of fluidity that made him look like he had more experience than his résumé would show. The 25-year-old has been Brady’s only backup for each of his first two seasons, and he showed Thursday that he’s got a firm grasp on the No. 2 role again in 2011.

Despite Hoyer’s cool appearance, though, he had to fight off some pregame jitters. He said it took a couple plays to get past them, and it was all good from there.

“That first time back, you’re always wondering how it’s going to be,” Hoyer said. “You’re always wondering if you’ve still got it or how you’re going to play out there. It’s not a nervousness. It’s just anxiousness to get back out and do it. Now that we’ve played a game, it will be even more fun to go out there and keep playing the rest of these preseason games.”

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