There was a quick 24-hour span when New England Patriots rookie tight end Jacob Hollister might have been Tom Brady’s backup quarterback.
The Patriots officially traded quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers on Tuesday afternoon and eventually signed Brian Hoyer, who San Francisco released, on Wednesday. Brady was the only quarterback on the Patriots’ roster during that span, and Hollister was the only healthy player who served as a college QB.
It seems obvious why the Patriots elected to sign Hoyer over other available quarterbacks, most notably former 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick. Hoyer played with the Patriots from 2009 until the summer of 2012, and he has nearly as much playing and starting experience as any other available quarterback.
Some might argue Hoyer isn’t as physically gifted as Kaepernick, but his experience in the offense makes up for any shortcomings. Hoyer has started 37 career NFL games, in which he’s gone 16-21. He actually had a winning record as a starter prior to his 2016 and 2017 campaigns with the tanking Chicago Bears and 49ers.
“We’ve had him. We know what he can do,” Belichick said Monday in a conference call. “He’s been productive. He’s been in a lot of big games, big situations. We’ll try to get him ready to go.”
While Hoyer might not have tremendous upside as a starter, he could keep the ball rolling if he needs to fill in for Brady in the middle of a game. The Patriots wouldn’t have to dramatically change their offense, like they did last season when Jacoby Brissett was thrust into action.
Belichick was asked if Hoyer’s experience this season will help him acclimate faster.
“He hasn’t played for us, so I think we have a lot of work to do, but he’ll work hard at it, see where we’re at,” Belichick said.
One interesting note is Hoyer only briefly played under Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels was hired as the Denver Broncos’ head coach in 2009 then served as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011. He was hired prior to the Patriots’ 2011 playoff run then began serving as New England’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator again in 2012.
The Patriots have carried over the same basic tenets of their offense since Belichick was hired as head coach in 2000, though there were some tweaks between Bill O’Brien’s system from 2009 to 2011 and what McDaniels currently runs.
Still, Hoyer should have a much easier time adapting than a quarterback who never played under Belichick.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images