In defense of Brian Hoyer…
By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Relax. Unclench your jaw, put down your fist. At least read what I have to say. If you still hate the idea at the end, then you can rip me on Twitter all you want.
Assuming Cam Newton isn’t cleared in time, Brian Hoyer should be the starting quarterback for the Patriots when (if) they face the Denver Broncos in Week 5. It may not seem so after how he played in Kansas City, but based on how the Patriots have operated for the last 20 years, it’s still his job.
Hoyer made some atrocious mistakes Monday night. Atrocious mistakes. At times, watching him lead the Patriots offense was the emotional equivalent of watching 500 Days of Summer with your ex. It’s understandable that his turnovers and poorly-timed sack would be the highlights in a game his team lost.
If you go back and watch the game as a whole entity though, Hoyer more-or-less turned in the performance Patriots fans should have expected. For most of the night he was going through progressions and making the right reads. He led three 10-plus play drives.
The majority of his struggles were due to the physical limitations of his arm, which shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Nobody should have been anticipating him to come out and throw fastballs sideline to sideline all night.
It’s also important to understand just how tough of a situation Hoyer was thrown into. Not only did he find out just two days before the game that he’d be starting, but the majority of the game plan was likely reworked in that window, without an opportunity to even walk through those concepts on the field.
The team also lost two of its starting linemen (Shaq Mason and Jermaine Eluemunor) between getting to the stadium and the game actually starting. Outside of Thuney, the group Hoyer had in front of him Monday night had a combined 14 career starts, and who knows how little practice time working as a unit?
Of course, there’s also the fact he and the team flew in the day of the game. It’s hard to understate just how impactful that can be. Add to all of that the cloud that must have been hanging over his head, knowing he had spent the last week with and recently been exposed to somebody (Newton) who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Bill Belichick was steadfast in saying “no excuses” Tuesday after the game, but those are all pretty good excuses.
One of the cornerstones of the ‘Patriot Way’ has always been rewarding guys who do what they’re asked. Before Monday night’s loss, Hoyer spent 5-plus years with the Patriots as a backup quarterback, scout team quarterback, a selfless teammate, and during his second and third stints with the team, an important locker room voice.
To take a guy who – by all accounts – has earned the trust and respect of the team, and bench him for a few bad plays after putting him in a situation set up for him to fail, would be rather shortsighted by the Patriots standards.
At the very least, Hoyer has earned the chance to have a full week of preparation for a start (or as full of a week as the Patriots can have right now given their COVID situation). He deserves another chance.
Should be be on a short leash? Sure. If he continues to make mental mistakes in key spots like he did in Kansas City, it’s not worth leaving him in the game. But after spending twelve years in the NFL, it’s ignorant to think he should be shut down entirely after three or four bad plays in a tough game.
On top of all of that, it’s not like Jarrett Stidham went out and won the starting quarterback job with his limited performance. There were certainly flashes, but it’d be hard to say he convincingly proved himself to be the better option in his short time on the field.
Brian Hoyer should be the starting quarterback on Sunday. That’s what the ‘Patriot Way’ would dictate. It’ll be up to him to put together a performance worthy of finishing the game under center, but he’s done enough in the past to at least get another shot at making his case.
OK, you made it until the end. If you still really hate the idea, now you can let the Twitter hate flow…
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.