Starting today, and continuing throughout the next few weeks, we'll begin reviewing each position on the Patriots roster, and evaluating each players' 2010 performance. We'll switch between an offensive and defensive position, starting with quarterback today:
Overview: The Patriots' quarterback position will be set for the next five-plus years, with Tom Brady, the future hall-of-fame quarterback at the helm. Behind him, the Patriots have 2009 undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton, a rookie who spent his time with the Patriots on the practice squad.
Tom Brady, #12
2010 Performance: Tom Brady's 2010 season will likely garner him his second NFL MVP award. Early in the year, Brady did struggle at times. In week two, he struggled in large part due to him forcing the ball to Randy Moss. And after Moss was shipped out, Brady did have an adjustment period. He stopped looking downfield, and it started to make the Patriots too predictable. However, starting in week ten against against the Steelers, Brady began his second half (of the season) performance, that was arguably the greatest of his storied career, that included 22 touchdowns without a single interception. But most importantly, that stretch included eight straight wins to close out the season. I haven't even mentioned Brady's record for consecutive passes without an interception. Yes, it sucks that Brady couldn't turn his magnificent 2010 season into a playoff run. In ten years, however, people will likely just look back on this year as one of the greatest any NFL quarterback has ever had. 2010 Grade: A
Outlook: Tom Brady recently signed a contract extension through 2014 that has made him the highest paid player in NFL history. So Brady will be the Pats starting quarterback for at least the next four seasons. When that contract expires, he'll be 38 heading into 2015. I think he will likely sign one more contract after than for another two or three years, although you never know.
Profiles on Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton after the jump!
Brian Hoyer, #8
2010 Performance: Brian Hoyer played mop-up in three games for the Patriots in 2010: on the road against Cleveland and Buffalo, and at home against Miami. He played just one series in both the Cleveland and Miami games (and the interception in the Cleveland game was not on him, it was Julian Edelman's fault). His most extended action came against Miami in the season finale, where he went 7 for 13 for 122 yards and one long touchdown pass to Brandon Tate. Yes, his sample size is small, but Hoyer has looked very good when given playing time. He's got good intangibles, is confident in the pocket (and not afraid to take a hit), is accurate on his short throws, and recently showed us he can hit the deep ball. 2010 Grade: B+
Outlook: Brian Hoyer is just 25 years old, and is signed through 2011 for the Patriots. It may seem a little unconventional, but could he be in line for a contract extension? Obviously, you've got to ask: could Hoyer be the quarterback of the future? Personally, I think it would be awesome if the quarterback of the future was someone who had learned the tools of the trade from Brady for more than six years. In many ways, Hoyer does carry himself like Tom Brady on the field, and you can certainly see Brady's influence on him. Of course, When Brady's contract expires, Brian Hoyer will be 29. If Brady decides to play a few more years after that, Hoyer could be 32 or even 33 by the time Brady is ready to hang em up, which would unfortunately eliminate the need for him as the quarterback of the future.
Jonthan Crompton, #7
2010 Performance: Crompton was signed to the Patriots' practice squad in November, and has remained there since. 2010 Grade: Incomplete
Outlook: Crompton, a 6'4" 225 lb prospect, was a fifth round draft pick out of Tennessee, having been selected by the San Diego Chargers. At Tennessee, despite being a five star prospect coming out of high school, only started one year at quarterback, having played behind the likes of Austin Ainge. The Patriots recently signed him to a future contract, so he'll likely be with the team in training camp. Crompton likely will not wrestle the #2 spot from Brian Hoyer, but a strong camp could tempt the Patriots to keep three quarterbacks.
The Patriots won't have much work to do at the quarterback position in the 2011 offseason. While some such as NFL Draft Scout have the Patriots targeting their quarterback of the future early in the draft (they have Jake Locker going to the Pats at #17, which is ridiculous, and I would have expected more from Rob Rang), I just cannot see that happening. The Patriots could bring in a veteran to compete for the #2 with Brian Hoyer, or they could draft a rookie late such as they did with Zac Robinson last season. Nonetheless, don't expect any big changes at this position in 2011.
OVERALL 2010 POSITION GRADE: A