How’s the Patriots depth at QB?


My buddy Don Banks led his “Snap Judgments” column this week with a look at the good and not-so-good backup quarterback situations in the NFL. And therein lies an overlooked aspect of the Patriots’ preseason win over the Saints last week.

Brian Hoyer completed 8-of-13 passes for 106 yards, and led two touchdown drives before giving way to rookie Zac Robinson.

It’s hard to know how Hoyer would look in a full-time role — Remember, Matt Cassel looked awfully shaky in the 2008 preseason, then flourished in replacing an injured Tom Brady that fall — but what is clear is that the team feels good about his development. Last year, the club was confident enough in the undrafted free agent rookie to go at it with Hoyer as Brady’s only backup, dumping 2008 third-round pick Kevin O’Connell and veteran Andrew Walter in the process.

Hoyer completed 29 of his 44 passes last preseason for 354 yards and a touchdown, and was 19-of-27 for 142 yards in mop-up duty during the regular season. Add all the numbers up from the last two years (preseason and regular season), and the kid has logged 84 NFL passes without throwing a pick, which probably has something to do with the Patriots’ confidence in him.

So his play is one thing to watch tonight. And here are five other things to keep an eye on.


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