Rob Ninkovich thinks Brian Hoyer will start ahead of Jarrett Stidham to open the season

Ninkovich believes Hoyer's veteran leadership will give him an edge over Stidham.

Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham
Brian Hoyer will be the Patriots' Week 1 starting quarterback, according to Rob Ninkovich. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Jarrett Stidham has been all the rage for the Patriots this offseason.

However, former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich doesn’t believe Stidham will be the team’s starting quarterback come Week 1. He thinks that honor will belong to veteran Brian Hoyer.

“I think Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1, and I say that because the quarterback position is one of the most important for reps under center, seeing defensive looks, looking at coverage, understanding the offense,” Ninkovich said on ESPN’s “Get Up.”

Ninkovich didn’t necessarily say he thinks Hoyer is better than Stidham. He thinks Hoyer will be the starter because without minicamps this offseason, the veteran quarterback will have the edge to be more prepared when the seasons starts.

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“They’re not practicing right now. There’s no minicamp, there’s no offseason, there’s no training camp,” Ninkovich said. “We don’t know when that’s going to happen.

“So if you have a veteran quarterback who has been in the system, understands what to expect what an NFL season is like, you’re gonna want to go with a guy who has the veteran leadership (and) also what it takes to be in that building,” Ninkovich added. “Look, when you’re a second-year player, you really don’t realize what a season’s like as a starter. You don’t understand what it’s going to take, and not having an offseason does not help. So, Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1.”

There is no denying that Hoyer has the edge in knowing the team’s system. Hoyer, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in March, is in his third stint in New England. Hoyer joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and remained in New England through the end of the 2012 preseason when he was cut. He re-joined the Patriots in the middle of the 2017 season after the team traded backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. He stayed on through the end of the 2019 preseason when he was cut again after Stidham beat him out for the backup spot.

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When the two were together in the 2019 preseason, Stidham played in all four preseason games while Hoyer played in only two of them. Stidham also threw 90 passes in that preseason to Hoyer’s 22 pass attempts. Stidham threw for 731 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception, while Hoyer threw for 202 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick.

Hoyer saw limited action with the Colts in 2019. He threw for 372 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in three games. Hoyer has started 38 games for six teams over his 11-year career. He has yet to start a game for the Patriots.

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