Brian Hoyer helped orchestrate a 93-yard touchdown drive that opened up the second half and ultimately gave the Patriots a 7-6 win in their exhibition debut Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, but New England’s backup quarterback came away with a mixed self-evaluation.
“Definitely did some things I wish I would have done better,” Hoyer said. “Getting the ball batted, that’s not something that usually happens, so you’ve to find a way to get it through. Some of the throws, got to get on the same page with some of those guys. But to go out in the second half with a 97-yard drive, that was definitely a positive, but you’ve got to do it more often.”
After Tom Brady exited for good following two series, Hoyer went 8 for 15 for 45 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass to Britt Davis. Running back Shane Vereen, seeing his first action of the evening, played every snap during the drive, and wound up contributing 73 of the 97 yards.
“He had some great runs, some great cuts, and the line got off the ball really well,” Hoyer said of Vereen. “We were trying to go fast, and they were doing really well with that.
“You see him get out there, make a few cuts, break a few tackles, and that’s really what got us going.”
Hoyer seems firmly entrenched as Brady’s backup — third-stringer Ryan Mallett was 8 of 19 for 89 yards with an interception — but spoke at length to the competition among the Patriots’ three signal-callers.
“I’m always trying to compete with Tom,” Hoyer said. “And obviously Ryan’s a good player too, so we’re competing at the same time, and I think the competition always brings out the best in everyone.
“You never want to lag off. You’re always trying to improve. Me trying to chase Tom and trying to be as good as he is, that obviously sets a pretty high standard, and I try to strive to get to his level every day.”
For Hoyer, who had just one pass attempt last season, these preseason games are a guaranteed opportunity for focused improvement.
“That first one out you always have to get your feet underneath you, get a few throws in, get feeling comfortable,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I did a good job of that tonight, I’ve got to do a better job of taking a few easy throws in the beginning and getting in a good rhythm.
“Instead of waiting on a deeper throw, take a check route, get a positive play, start it off, get you in a rhythm.”