After signing with the Patriots as an undrafted free agency in 2009, Brian Hoyer has been an NFL quarterback since then. He’s back for a third term in New England, this time as backup quarterback to Mac Jones, who is only in his second season as a starter.
Hoyer has started games for seven different NFL teams and is currently in the “older backup mentor” portion of his career, but he knows what it’s like to compete for a starting position, and he shared his thoughts on the best way to build up a QB competition with me for this episode of QB2.
Hoyer learned from his mistakes and used them as inspiration. In 2015, he and the Houston Texans were featured in HBO’s Hard Knocks because of one of the strangest and most intense competitions of his career.
According to Hoyer, “Hard Knocks” was once a TV staple. Then, while I was actually riding it, I thought, “This is terrible. I’m done with this program permanently. It’s not like I don’t know what these guys are going through.
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2022
Both Hoyer and Mallett were there in the conference room where HBO cameras were pointed when former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien named Hoyer the starting quarterback. It’s not a huge deal, OK? Since nobody of the flag-bearers spoke, O’Brien chimed in. Really, it’s not. Daily effort is required.
O’Brien continued by emphasizing how crucial it is that Mallett be game-ready. “If things aren’t going very well, look, we’re not on a short leash here, but look, we’re not going to sit here and let it go eight games of not being good,” O’Brien said.
But he didn’t have much time: Hoyer was taken out of Houston’s opening game after the third quarter. It was an unusual look at how a head coach handles a competitive QB situation, but it may not have been very realistic.
For the sake of Hard Knocks, a lot of that was exaggerated, Hoyer admitted. Saying anything along the lines of, “That’s my life!” Everything we’ve ever done up to this point has led to this moment, and now we’re just adding to the drama. I wonder what would have happened if the Texans weren’t filming a TV show at the time.
For sure, Hoyer added, “we” (him and Mallett) “wouldn’t have been in the room together. That’s not how we did things in Cleveland. It’s what it is; I assume that was done on purpose to heighten the tension.
Hoyer claimed that he was told of his demotion from starting quarterback in Cleveland from 2013 to 2014 late in the season, away from the other quarterbacks. This occurred when Johnny Manziel was promoted from the practice squad.
With that in mind, how would Hoyer, as a coach, organize a quarterback competition? Actually, he wouldn’t do it. It’s something he feels the need to resolve before the summer.
Never get one,” he emphasized. If you still aren’t sure by the end of spring OTAs, then I’d say to pick the player in whom you have the most faith and let them prove themselves during training camp. A prolonged battle might cause the squad to become divided, but Hoyer stated he would choose a quarterback before training camp and fully support that person.
At times, he thought “the team was split,” he remarked, “and rightly so, they don’t know who is going to be [QB1]. Maybe guys are selecting sides, which is acceptable, but you have no idea what that does to the guy who doesn’t make the cut. No one is fully behind him because they are all wondering, “Well, what about that guy?” “It wasn’t that close if it went down to the wire.”
The most hectic cross-country relocation of Hoyer’s life, the stress of being Brady’s only backup as an undrafted rookie, and the best way to avoid getting into a brawl during a joint practice were also discussed.
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