Patriots OTA notebook: Brian Hoyer’s turn to shine, Dont’a Hightower returns
It’s almost as if the Patriots’ quarterbacks are taking turns in the spotlight. Mac Jones was the star of the team’s first open OTA practice two weeks ago, followed by Jarrett Stidham last week. During Thursday’s final open practice before minicamp, it was Brian Hoyer taking center stage.
While the two younger quarterbacks seemed to be more conservative in their decision-making (Cam Newton didn’t practice due to a thumb injury he suffered last week), Hoyer time and time again opened up the offense, taking shots downfield in team drills. More often than not, he was connecting with his receivers.
It wasn’t a concentrated effort either – the 35-year-old QB was spreading the ball around. His targets on some of his longer pass completions included Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Isaiah Zuber, Marvin Hall, and Devin Asiasi, who hauled in a rainbow that traveled over 55 yards in the air.
Hoyer’s confidence and experience compared to the other two signal-callers on the field was apparent, and portrays part of the reason the team chose to bring him back as a free agent. His ability to play aggressive and take chances, combined with his experience in both the NFL and Patriots’ offensive system (a field where Jones and Stidham may be lacking) will allow him to test the defense mentally as well as physically. In other words, he’s the most likely to go out there and just sling the ball around.
Of course, it’s just one session. Like with Stidham last week, it’s certainly encouraging to see guys play well, but it doesn’t mean they’re locked in to take over the starting job. Competition breeds success, and one quarterback playing well will help push the whole room. The good news for the Patriots is it seems like everybody at the position is clicking heading into minicamp next week.
Beyond Hoyer’s performance, there were a number of notable happenings at Thursday’s practice. Here’s the big takeaways…
The Patriots’ will have their final OTA practice on Friday, which will be closed to the media. They’ll regroup after the weekend, with mandatory minicamp beginning on Monday.
MORE: Bob Socci breaks down Patriots OTAs with Zolak & Bertrand
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 abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.