The “journeyman” tag gets a lot of run when it comes to veteran backup quarterbacks.
Brian Hoyer has worn it well.
There were 11 passers taken in the 2009 NFL draft, and while the Michigan State product was not one of them, he’s gone on to complete more passes in his career than all but first-round picks Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman have in theirs.
Stafford has logged 3,005 completions with the Detroit Lions since arriving No. 1 overall via Georgia. Sanchez, picked No. 5 overall out of USC, has logged 1,295 between stops with the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. And Freeman, now with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, logged 1,179 through stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts after entering at No. 17 overall by way of Kansas State.
Hoyer checks in behind them with 837 career completions, and in the absence of Tom Brady at the New England Patriots’ voluntary organized team activities, is the interim first-teamer.
One who has grown accustomed to stepping in.
“I look at it as a great opportunity to be out there,” Hoyer told reporters before Tuesday’s practice at Gillette Stadium, via Patriots.com. “Be the guy who’s in charge of the huddle, lead those guys, obviously get to know the guys who were here last year a little bit better and obviously get to know the new guys, too.”
New guys have become old guys for Hoyer over the last decade. The once-again Patriots QB has accrued his completions over stays with an additional six teams, also taking regular-season snaps with the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Bears and San Francisco 49ers.
And it’s taken a laundry list of recipients to get to 837. Like, a list of 71.
According to the Pro Football Reference archives, that’s the number of pass-catchers at this stage for Hoyer.
Here is a scroll down the names, the yards and the touchdowns he has had a hand in through 60 appearances and 37 starts.
RECEIVING END OF HOYER’S COMPLETIONS
- DeAndre Hopkins: 65 for 876 yards, 5 touchdowns
- Andrew Hawkins: 56 for 756 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Miles Austin: 46 for 564 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Jordan Cameron: 34 for 522 yards, 5 touchdowns
- Josh Gordon: 34 for 454 yards, 1 touchdown
- Taylor Gabriel: 31 for 552 yards, 1 touchdown
- Nate Washington: 31 for 467 yards, 3 touchdowns
- Pierre Garcon: 28 for 379 yards
- Cecil Shorts: 27 for 321 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Cameron Meredith: 26 for 295 yards, 1 touchdown
- Zach Miller: 26 for 234 yards, 3 touchdowns
- Alshon Jeffery: 23 for 320 yards
- Eddie Royal: 22 for 235 yards, 1 touchdown
- Jim Dray: 18 for 233 yards, 1 touchdown
- George Kittle: 18 for 171 yards, 1 touchdown
- Carlos Hyde: 18 for 95 yards
- Travis Benjamin: 17 for 335 yards, 3 touchdowns
- Arian Foster: 16 for 191 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Marquise Goodwin: 15 for 250 yards
- Gary Barnidge: 14 for 158 yards
- Kevin White: 14 for 141 yards
- Jordan Howard: 14 for 128 yards, 1 touchdown
- C.J. Fiedorowicz: 14 for 123 yards, 1 touchdown
- Ryan Griffin: 13 for 172 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Trent Taylor: 13 for 100 yards, 1 touchdown
- Chris Polk: 12 for 88 yards, 1 touchdown
- Davone Bess: 11 for 117 yards
- Jonathan Grimes: 11 for 80 yards, 1 touchdown
- Jaelen Strong: 10 for 120 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Alfred Blue: 10 for 66 yards
- Michael Floyd: 9 for 175 yards, 1 touchdown
- Ben Tate: 9 for 60 yards
- Keith Mumphery: 9 for 56 yards
- Chris Ogbonnaya: 9 for 51 yards, 1 touchdown
- Aldrick Robinson: 8 for 108 yards
- Kyle Juszczyk: 8 for 80 yards, 1 touchdown
- Julian Edelman: 8 for 74 yards
- Matt Breida: 8 for 49 yards
- Terrance West: 8 for 48 yards, 1 touchdown
- Andre Roberts: 7 for 58 yards
- Larry Fitzgerald: 6 for 63 yards
- Isaiah Crowell: 6 for 61 yards
- Sam Aiken: 4 for 30 yards
- Rob Gronkowski: 3 for 51 yards
- Taylor Price: 3 for 41 yards
- Akeem Hunt: 3 for 25 yards
- Bobby Rainey: 3 for 24 yards
- Greg Little: 3 for 19 yards
- Ray Agnew: 3 for 15 yards
- Garrett Celek: 3 for 13 yards, 1 touchdown
- Jeff King: 3 for 10 yards
- Josh Bellamy: 2 for 39 yards
- Brandin Cooks: 2 for 27 yards
- Ka’Deem Carey: 2 for 24 yards
- Jeremy Langford: 2 for 15 yards
- Garrett Graham: 2 for 14 yards
- Logan Paulsen: 2 for 10 yards
- Laurence Maroney: 2 for 0 yards
- William Powell: 2 for minus-1 yard
- Brandon Tate: 1 for 42 yards, 1 touchdown
- Wes Welker: 1 for 14 yards
- Ben Watson: 1 for 11 yards
- James Develin: 1 for 10 yards
- Sammy Morris: 1 for 8 yards
- Kendall Lamm: 1 for 7 yards
- Randy Moss: 1 for 7 yards
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 1 for 6 yards
- Phillip Dorsett: 1 for 5 yards
- Deonte Thompson: 1 for 4 yards
- Chris Baker: 1 for 2 yards
- Kiero Small: 1 for 0 yards
It wouldn’t be fair to ask Hoyer, who re-signed with New England after being released from San Francisco following the trade deadline fall, to name all of them. But it’d be fun to see the 32-year-old try.
The rolodex is running out of pages.
Hoyer completed passes to 15 of those 71 during his two tours in Foxborough. And those ranged from Edelman, Aiken, Welker, Watson, Morris, Moss, Green-Ellis, Baker and Maroney in first NFL regular season all the way to Cooks, Develin and Dorsett in his ninth.
There have been frequent connections and one-and-dones. There’s been 13 who caught at least 20 passes from Hoyer and there’s been 20 who caught two passes or fewer. There have been multiple future Hall of Famers. Andaltogether, Hoyer stands with 9,895 yards and 48 touchdowns on his resume with help from the assortment.
It’s taken getting familiar with the unfamiliar.
“Brian does a great job,” head coach Bill Belichick said during his pre-practice press conference Tuesday. “He’s done a great job for us. He has a lot of experience. He knows our offense inside and out and he does a great job.”
Second-rounder Pat White, fourth-rounder Stephen McGee, fifth-rounders Rhett Bomar and Nate Davis, as well as sixth-rounders Tom Brandstater, Mike Teel, Keith Null and Curtis Painter sit more than a couple screens further down the list from Hoyer’s 837 completions. Hoyer has linked up on nearly twice as many passes during his tenure in the league than those eight 2009 draft selections have combined to attempt.
So even for a journeyman, it has been quite the journey.