FOXBORO, Mass. — One is a promising 2019 draft pick.
Another is a dynamic former superstar looking to prove his battered body still has some magic left.
The third is a journeyman backup, but one who is very familiar with his current surroundings.
Three very different quarterbacks are vying for the right to replace Tom Brady as the New England Patriots’ starter. That’s part of what makes their competition — the first in Foxboro, Mass., since the pre-Drew Bledsoe era — so fascinating.
Just ask Brian Hoyer, who offered some insight into his battle with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham after Thursday’s training camp practice.
“I think that’s the beautiful thing is, look, we’re all different,” Hoyer said. “We all bring different things to the table, and we can appreciate those things about each other and get to know each other well and help each other and push each other. I think that’s a great thing.
“And that’s what, when you have a so-called quarterback competition — I mean, look, we’re not all in there not talking to each other. We’re all learning from each other. We’re watching when one person goes and learning from their rep and vice versa.
“And it’s been awesome. It’s been great to get to know Cam, obviously knowing Jarrett from last year and obviously my other fellow Spartan, (fourth-string rookie Brian Lewerke), getting him under my wing and just trying to help him out along with the other guys.”
As the Patriots’ oldest quarterback and the one with the most experience in New England’s offense — this is the 34-year-old’s seventh Pats training camp, compared to two for the 24-year-old Stidham and one for the 31-year-old Newton — Hoyer is being asked to be both competitor and mentor this summer. He said those potentially opposing roles have been “not hard to balance.”
“Look, we’re trying to all be the best for the team and also do what’s best for the team,” Hoyer said. “So for me, obviously with Jarrett and Cam and even Brian Lewerke, (I) just try to use the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years of playing in this offense and help those guys out when they need it.”
The Patriots have steadily rotated their top three quarterbacks thus far in camp, though Stidham received fewer reps Thursday after throwing back-to-back interceptions in 11-on-11 drills. Through four practices that have been open to non-team-employed reporters, there’s still no clear-cut favorite to claim the starting job (though Newton may be edging in that direction).
In none emerges before Sept. 13, it’s been speculated the Patriots could employ a platoon approach to start the season with multiple QBs involved in the game plan. Head coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday he “would certainly consider” anything that could help his team, including a two-QB setup.
Hoyer, who shared QB duties with Johnny Manziel during his time with the Cleveland Browns, said that’s something he’s preparing for.
“Like Coach Belichick says, he’s always going to do what he thinks is best for the team,” Hoyer said. “And I have a lot of trust in him and the coaching staff. It’s something that I actually played with a little bit in Cleveland with Johnny Manziel, so it’s not something that I haven’t dealt with before.
“And it’s all about, look, as you guys see at practice, we’re constantly rotating through at quarterback, so it kind of prepares you to go in, find out what the situation is, and execute the play the best you can in that situation. … If I’m playing in a game and I get taken out on second down and come back in on third down, I’ve just got to go execute in that situation regardless of what happened before that.”
Hoyer has displayed impressive deep-ball accuracy thus far in camp but struggled for much of Thursday’s session, going 0-for-4 with an interception in 7-on-7 drills and 6-for-11 in 11s.