Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is Brian Hoyer the next Tom Brady?

Could Brian Hoyer earn the starting job when Brady's career is done?

It's 1st and 10 when the ball is snapped. The Pats' quarterback fakes the hand off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis then fakes the reverse to Julian Edelman. The pocket starts to collapse as Dolphins' nose tackle, Paul Soliai, breaks past Green-Ellis towards the quarterback. However, the signal caller stands poised and calm in the pocket. He plants his feet and, as Soliai comes bearing down on him, delivers a beautiful 42 yard bomb to Brandon Tate in the end zone.

Just another day for Tom Brady, right?

Nope, that was Brian Hoyer. It sure looked like Brady though.

When given the opportunity, the second year undrafted free-agent has shown what he's capable of. In his most extended action of the season on Sunday, Hoyer threw for 122 yards including that long touchdown to Tate.

Hoyer grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and went to college at Michigan State. His numbers weren't terrible but certainly didn't wow anyone. He had a career 55.8 completion percentage with 35 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Hoyer's best year was in 2007 when he had six 200 yard games, throwing for 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The promising year had Hoyer pegged as a potential candidate to win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in the 2008 pre-season. However, when the NFL draft came around, no one saw him worthy of a pick.

Going undrafted and picked up by New England could've turned out to be the best thing to happen to the young quarterback. He couldn't have a better player to learn under than Tom Brady. A sixth rounder himself, Brady's familiar with being overlooked and doubted. He's someone Hoyer can look to for guidance, serving as a positive example for the young developing quarterback.

"I love the fact that I can be a mentor because I learned from Drew [Bledsoe], I learned from John Friese, I learned from Jim Miller, I learned from Vinny Testaverde and Dough Flutie and Damon Huard and Matt Cassel," said Brady on his weekly appearance on WEEI. "I'm glad that Brian can look at me and say, 'These are some of the things that I want to do to be successful' because that's how you learn. You look around and you say, 'these are the examples and these are good examples and these are bad examples.'"

Even before Sunday, Hoyer's had some impressive performances as a Patriot. In his first year, he played an entire pre-season game against the New York Giants. After the Pats fell behind by three touchdowns in the first quarter, it was Hoyer that led the team to come back and win 38-27, throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown.

Hoyer has certainly picked up a lot from Brady in his time with the Patriots. While he's had limited to no action on game days -- as is the case for most backup quarterbacks -- he has still earned the respect of his teammates and coaches due to his work ethic and performance in practice. Hoyer's been running the scout team and it's earned him the "practice player of the week" award three times. It's an honor that Hoyer's familiar with from his college days. As a redshirt freshman at Michigan Sate, he earned the 'Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week' award twice.

"Brian does an awesome job. He goes in there and he works so hard all week," said Patriots' receiver, Julian Edelman, following Sunday's game. "Whether it's on the scout team, he's going to lead that little group and take it like it's a game. So, whatever Brian does he deserves because he works his tail off."

Motivated to succeed, Hoyer's taken to being under Brady's wing, mimicking his competitive drive, hard work ethic...and just about everything else.

"Brian is always in Tom's back pocket," said Edelman. "He's always following [him] and doing everything that he does. [He] wears the same kind of clothes as Tom, drives the same kind of car as Tom. If Tom has a vitamin water, you'll see Brian with a vitamin water or something like that. It's funny."

Obviously, Hoyer is no Tom Brady. Yet, he's the potential replacement when the superstar's contract runs up in 2014.

"He's everything you're looking for in a player and he's a perfect patriot," said Tom Brady on his weekly appearance on WEEI. "He works his tail off, he loves the game, he's a student of the game and he really performs well when he gets the opportunity. I think he's earned it. He's going to be a great player in this league."

Asked if he thought Hoyer could one day be the Patriots' starting quarterback, Brady replied, "He very well could be...I certainly didn't know when I was going to get my opportunity and neither does Brian. I know that he's prepared and when he gets it he's gonna do a great job with it."

The Pats have found a great backup in Brian Hoyer. Perhaps one day he'll be the man to fill Brady's shoes.


  1. 11 years ago Bob Kraft took DNA samples from Tom Brady, but never disclosed his reason. It is highly speculated that he is maturing a clone of Tom Brady, though much like the original he is being largely ignored until he needs to step up.

    Tom Brady

  2. Hoyer is a class kid with high morals and a incomparable work ethic.