Brian Hoyer has spent seven of his 13 NFL seasons with the Patriots, broken up over three different stints after initially making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2009 out of Michigan State. Over his career, Hoyer has had stops in Arizona, Houston and Cleveland, highlighted in 2014 when he went 7-6 for the Browns.
But now as a veteran backup, Hoyer has been an invaluable resource for rookie quarterback Mac Jones, providing insight into not only the Patriots' complex offensive system but just life in the NFL in general. As Jones continues to blossom, Hoyer is one of the behind-the-scenes reasons why.
"Brian's been in the system longer than anybody else as a player and knows the offense extremely well," said head coach Bill Belichick earlier this week, after Hoyer saw his first game action of the season against the Jets. "It's one thing, as a coach, to coach the players and all that, but in the end, it's always helpful to have somebody who has actually played it be able to also talk about it because, as a player, you get told a lot of things, and as an experienced player, you can sometimes help the younger players with understanding what's really important and what to put at the top of the list.
"Brian, in particular, I think has been extremely good with Garrett [Gilbert], Jarrett [Stidham], and Mac [Jones] on giving coaching points on either plays, situations, cadence, you name it, and kind of to help move the important stuff up to the top. Not that everything isn't important, but there are some things you've really got to take care of first, and he's done a nice job of that."
"He's super supportive of me and trying to help me in any way he can, and, you know, he's hard on me sometimes, which is good, so he holds me to a high standard, and then he also has fun and enjoys the game, so he's been around for a long time, and I think all the quarterbacks in our room have done that, and Brian is just a great example of a great team leader and a great team player, and, you know, if he ever needs to get in there, I know he's going to do a great job, so he's always ready, and I'm just happy to be able to learn from him and just be in the same room as him," said Mac Jones of Hoyer.
In total, Hoyer brings his experience from 71 games played and 39 starts, many of them spent behind Tom Brady and now he's enjoying the chance to mentor Mac and share what he's learned over his lengthy career.
"[Mac] is always trying to learn and get better, no matter the situation, whether it's after a game, in a practice and you can see the wheels are always turning, what can he do better, how can he do it better," said Hoyer of Mac, and while he was sure not to take any credit for the rookie's early success, he did take some satisfaction seeing the progression.
"Mac's the one out there doing it, I don't want to take any credit for that, but for me, knowing the role I'm in, taking the knowledge that I can help share with him and then seeing him go out there and do it, especially this last week...we just got to keep that going," said Hoyer. "It's always great to see him go out there and continue to progress and keep getting better."
The Patriots welcomed full attendance once again on Thursday, as practice returned outside to the upper practice fields. All of the three new faces -- Calvin Munson, Brian Poole and De'Vante Bausby -- were also in attendance having signed with the team earlier this week.
Quotes of Note
Devin McCourty on Justin Herbert:
I think it all starts with Herbert, his ability to read defenses, get the ball out where they want to get the ball out to the skill guys but I think one thing that won't be talked about with him is his ability to buy extra time, if you have any type of breakdown in the defense, the ball's going vertical because he can get it out there really easy, it's just the flick of the wrist and the ball's 60 yards downfield.
Jalen Mills on Keenan Allen:
"Really good receiver, savvy, explosive out of his cuts. He's definitely a main target in their offense. With him he's going to be in the slot, on the backside, even snaps where they put him in the backfield. As a defense, we have to know where he is at all times. When he's in a different spot from the slot, he's often the focal point."