With the news coming out that the Patriots plan to start Jimmy Garappolo in Game 4 of the 2014 preseason, the writing may be on the wall that this could be the end of Ryan Mallett’s tenure in New England. In two seasons as Tom Brady’s backup, Mallett has seen time in only four regular season games – all in 2012 – where he attempted four total passes . He completed one for 17 yards, while also throwing an interception.
With a changing of the guard behind Brady becoming apparent, here’s a look back at some of the other backups that have grazed the sidelines for the Patriots over the past two decades. Next
Patriots tenure: 2009-11
Highlights: Went 7-for-13 with a touchdown pass in a 38-7 win over the Dolphins on Jan. 2, 2011. It was the last action Hoyer would see as a member of the Patriots, as he joined the Arizona Cardinals for the 2012 season. He was recently named the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback for this upcoming season, beating out rookie Johnny Manziel for the honors. Next
Patriots tenure: 2005-08
Highlights: Became the unexpected starter in 2008 after Tom Brady suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 against the Chiefs. Cassel did well as the Pats’ go-to QB, throwing for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while the team went an impressive (under the circumstances) 11-5, but missed the playoffs.
He was traded to the Chiefs after the season, along with Mike Vrabel, in exchange for the draft pick that the Pats eventually used to draft Patrick Chung. Next
Patriots tenure: 2008
Highlights: Became Matt Cassel’s backup after Tom Brady suffered a season-ending torn ACL. O’Connell played in two games in the 2008 season, completing four of six pass attempts for 23 yards. Next
Patriots tenure: 2006
Highlights: The former Heisman Trophy winner played a forgettable three games as a 43-year-old for the Pats in 2006, attempting just three passes and completing two for 29 yards and a touchdown, one that on Nov. 14 of that season extended his own NFL record for consecutive seasons throwing a touchdown pass to 20. Next
Patriots tenure: 1987-89, 2005
Highlights: The pride of Natick and former Boston College Eagle bookended his NFL career with the Patriots. His most memorable Patriots highlight was successfully completing a drop kick on Jan. 2, 2006 against the Dolphins, the first successful drop kick in an NFL game since 1941. Next
Patriots tenure: 2002-04
Highlights: Saw time in seven games as the unremarkable backup on two Super Bowl-winning teams from 2002-04, completing eight passes on 19 attempts. Next
Patriots tenure: 1993-2001
Highlights: The starter going into 2001, Bledsoe was injured against the Jets in the second game of the season, leading to some sixth-round pick out of Michigan being named the starter.
As Tom Brady’s backup that year, Bledsoe came off the sideline after Brady got hurt in the second quarter of the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, leading the Pats to a victory over the Steelers to send them to a date with the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Bledsoe was a three-time Pro Bowler in his nine years with the Pats, leading them to two AFC Championship game wins. He was elected by fans to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011. Next
Patriots tenure: 2000-Present
Highlights: As a backup to Drew Bledsoe for the 2000 season, Brady played in only one game, completing one pass for six yards in three attempts. The backup going into the 2001 season, he was thrust into action after Bledsoe went down with an injury in Week 2, and the rest, as they say, is history. Next
Patriots tenure: 1999-2000
Highlights: Bishop threw a 44-yard, Hail Mary touchdown against the Colts on Oct. 10, 2000. He played in eight games with the Patriots over the two seasons, completing three of the nine passes he attempted. Next
Patriots tenure: 1999-2000
Highlights: Played two games with the Patriots over the final two seasons of his NFL career, going 11-for-21 passing for 66 yards and an interception. Next
Patriots tenure: 1992-1998
Highlights: Long before “Unicorns and Show Ponies,” Zolak played for the Pats for seven seasons. He played in 55 games, -starting seven—throwing for 1,314 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
After the retirement of Gino Cappelletti following the 2011 season, Zolak was named the full-time color commentator for the Patriots radio broadcasts, a position he holds to this day. He is also is the co-host of the “Gresh and Zo” midday radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Back to the beginning
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