FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots have talked this week about how difficult it is to simulate Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ mobility and arm strength in practice.
Well, Brian Hoyer is trying his best. And he’s having a lot of fun doing it.
“When you see some of the throws (Mahomes) makes, it kind of gives me the green light to try to make any throw I want to make,” the Patriots’ veteran backup QB said Wednesday. “Maybe try to fit a ball in where I wouldn’t always. It’s always fun for me to emulate a different offense, because whether it’s read option, RPOs, whatever it may be, it’s always an opportunity to get better as a quarterback.”
Unlike the Patriots’ defensive players, Hoyer said he hasn’t closely studied Mahomes’ game ahead of Sunday night’s Pats-Chiefs matchup at Gillette Stadium. Even as a backup, his primary focus needs to be on Kansas City’s defense.
But, like everyone else, he’s impressed by the remarkable things Mahomes has been able to do on the field this season.
“I watched the Sunday night highlights or whatever it is,” Hoyer said. “I remember that throw he made to (tight end Travis) Kelce against Pittsburgh. It basically knocked Kelce down. I mean, it was incredible. If you’re a football fan, you know about other guys, and everything you’ve ever heard about Patrick Mahomes is his arm strength, and he’s definitely proven that this year.”
He added: “When you’re the son of a major league pitcher (Pat Mahomes), that’s kind of in your DNA, right?”
The 32-year-old Hoyer knows he can’t properly replicate that arm strength — few quarterbacks can — or Mahomes’ scrambling ability. As they did before their matchup with Deshaun Watson in Week 1, the Patriots have used non-QBs to simulate the latter, with practice squad running back Kenneth Farrow taking snaps during a defensive line contain drill earlier this week.
“If there’s a play that’s similar to what we do, I always try to just do it the way we would do it,” Hoyer explained. “But there’s a lot of times where that’s not the case and I’m trying to put myself in that quarterback’s shoes and make a good play. I realize I’m servicing the defense. When it comes down to it, the best thing I can do it give them the best look.”
When Hoyer agreed to return to New England following the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, he knew he’d only see game action if Tom Brady went down with an injury or the score was sufficiently lopsided. His No. 1 job for the Patriots is to ensure their defense gets the best look it can each week.
“I always enjoy it,” said Hoyer, who has portrayed Watson, Blake Bortles, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck and Mahomes this season. “I think scout team’s always great to, obviously, see what other offenses are doing a little bit, but also to see what you can get away with. For me, I always take it as a personal opportunity to get better and to get the defense better, too.”
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images