The NFL is a fickle business.
One minute, you’re an AFC Champion, hoisting a (very heavy looking) trophy for all to see, basking in the glow of spotlights and trying to avoid drowning in the downpour of confetti.
And then, if you’re quarterback Brian Hoyer, you’re unceremoniously thrown out on your behind in favor of a younger, less prepared, less accurate player.
Did the last three years mean nothing to you, Bill?
Apparently not. Of all the cuts the Patriots made on Friday, the letting go of Hoyer still doesn’t quite sit right. Not to take anything off Ryan Mallett, who will step in as Tom Brady’s sole back-up, but Hoyer is a superior quarterback. He knows the system, he has a good chemistry with the players and he’s reliable. Or as reliable as a guy can be who rarely plays in-season.
Call it superstition, call it crazy, but leaving a second-year man like Mallett as Brady’s only heir, especially when he’s struggled so much this preseason, just feels like tempting fate. Remember when Brady went down in 2008 and it was Matt Cassel to the rescue? He had THREE solid seasons as a back-up before he had to step in. And if you recall, it wasn’t exactly pretty there in the early goings for Cassel.
It will be even uglier if Mallett is called upon. In his four preseason appearances, Mallett went 33 of 67 for 300 yards with three touchdowns and one interception and a stellar QB rating of 70.5.
I know what you’re thinking. At least he’s not Tim Tebow.
But seriously. The other thing you’re thinking is, if Brady were to, heaven forbid, get injured and have to miss time, the Pats can always check their handy emergency list and give a call to some aging journeyman. There’s always plenty of those guys hanging around. Isn’t David Garrard free these days? He’d be great.
Or, you could avoid all this, and just keep the guy (Hoyer) who you already feel moderately confident in.
I understand the business side. The Pats were going to owe Hoyer something like $1.9 million to hold a clipboard and be prepared at a moment’s notice to jump in. I get it. I respect it. The team just gave Gronk and Hernando like a bajillion dollars (real talk: about $92 million) between them and they don’t want to eat any more contract dough than they have to.
Understood. But if Brady goes down, and Mallett has to step in against the Ravens or some other vaunted defense, how is he really going to handle that? Is he mentally prepared for this job?
Like it always does, time will tell the tale.