New England Patriots: Hoyer Needs to Shine Quickly to Score in Free Agency
Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer has about as much money riding on this preseason as any player in the National Football League. Likely to only play sparingly in the regular season, Hoyer is running out of time to prove to the league he deserves a shot at a starting job this time next year.
The Patriots take the field tomorrow against the Eagles and play again in Tampa Bay just four days later. Their schedule being so chaotic and bunched together, it makes the chances of the team’s two backups getting a big look much higher.
Over the Patriots’ final three preseason games, Hoyer will have what could be personnel executives’ last look at him before he hits unrestricted free agency in March.
Opinions on Hoyer are varied. Mike Lombardi of NFL.com, who has worked in teams' front offices before, famously said last year that if he we were with a team he would have chased Hoyer over then-Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb via a trade.
The problem I have with that is that he mainly points at a meaningless 2010 Week 17 game against the Dolphins in which Hoyer completed seven of 13 passes and his only touchdown pass was hauled in by Brandon Tate with a tremendous diving catch.
I do not see Hoyer as a player with the “it” factor as an NFL starting quarterback. He has progressed well in the Patriots system over his four years since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2009, but that still of course has not raised his ability and talent levels.
Last week, in a game during which none of the Patriots’ signal-callers shined, Hoyer completed just eight of 15 passes for 45 yards and a score to the now-waived wide receiver Britt Davis.
Hoyer will have the opportunity to be a backup in the league for a long time, but unless he blows people away very soon, I see no reason any team should throw any money at him to come and be its starter.
At best, a team should give him a chance like the Seahawks gave to Matt Flynn to come in and compete. Unfortunately for Hoyer, he has not shown he can flourish as much with his opportunities as Flynn did in Green Bay.
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