For the second consecutive season, the Patriots went with exactly two quarterbacks on their active roster for the entire year: Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer.
And once again, they waited till late in the year to add a third to the practice squad. The gamble seemed to have paid off both times, as Brady took nearly every snap and Hoyer filled in capably on the few occasions when he was given the opportunity.
How much longer the team can afford to go this route is another question. This is a position where the team could conceivably invest a draft pick and even sign a veteran free agent to add depth and competition to the backup spots.
THE QUARTERBACK ROSTER
(Players listed alphabetically, as of February 2011, with individual analysis below)
12 – Tom Brady
Couldn't have had a better season (unless he led the team to another Super Bowl, of course). Brady was near-flawless during the regular season and was a unanimous choice for NFL MVP. This, after signing the richest contract in league history just before the season opener. He's still going strong and has at least four more seasons in a Patriots uniform to get the franchise back on top of the football world.
7 – Jonathan Crompton
Originally drafted by San Diego last April, Crompton couldn't hang on with the Chargers, who released him in September. He was out of work till November, when the Patriots signed him to the practice squad. He could get another shot in '11 if the team doesn't elect to bring in more experienced or talented players.
8 – Brian Hoyer
Continued to grow in his second year as Brady's understudy. Hoyer has probably done enough to warrant at least being the third QB, if not remaining as the undisputed backup. He enters the final year of his current contract this season. It wouldn't be inconceivable for the team to give him an extension before the deal runs out.
This concludes the Position Snapshot series for 2011. Tomorrow on patriots.com, a fresh edition of Ask PFW*. *