Tomorrow night is Brian Hoyer’s time to shine.
While superstar quarterback Tom Brady, entering his 13th season, will be the main man behind center when the Patriots open the year in Tennessee on Sept. 9, Hoyer is looking forward to his opportunity to drive the offense when the Patriots and Saints square off in the preseason opener at Gillette Stadium Thursday night.
“I’m taking the same approach I had for the last three years,” the 26-year-old Hoyer said after today’s joint practice session with the Saints. “For me I know this is a guaranteed opportunity and I’m going to get a chance to play, so just trying to take what I’ve done from the meeting room to the practice field and out to the game when the live bullets are flying. You want to prepare for a perfect game but it doesn’t always end up that way, so just go out there and try to do the best I can and get the team going when I’m in there and go from there.”
Hoyer had just one pass attempt last season, but it was a memorable one for him. In the closing moments of New England’s 49-21 win over Buffalo in the final regular season game, the Patriots chose to run a first-down pass play for Rob Gronkowski. The 22-yard pass completion gave Gronkowski the record for receiving yards for a tight end.
Gronkowski’s finished the season with 1,327 receiving yards while the Saints’ Jimmy Graham ended the year with 1,310. Both players eclipsed the record of 1,290, set by San Diego’s Kellen Winslow in 1980.
“The throw I threw to Gronk for his record, that was the only pass attempt I had [last season],” Hoyer said. “So for me, it’s always fun to go back out there and play some extended amount of time.”
Hoyer was asked how he is able to judge his progression as a quarterback while seeing such limited action on game day.
“Obviously they’re filming practice every day so you can watch that and learn from that,” Hoyer said. “There’s always room to improve with a guy like Tom [Brady] and now Josh [McDaniels] coming in and having him give his input, there’s been a lot things I’ve been trying to improve on, you just try to go out there everyday and practice and kind of attack those things and go and watch the film afterward and see how you did.”
Hoyer sees the benefits of the joint practices against the Saints compared to the usual intra-squad sessions.
“It makes you stick to your rules,” he said. “After you see the same thing over and over and over again, you kind of know where to go right away, so now when a new scheme comes in it really tests what you know and how you know the system. You gotta stick to your rules and take what the defense gives you.”