I sat in front of the TV on Thursday night and watched the preseason game between the Patriots and the Redskins from beginning to end. It felt good to be watching the Pats once again, six months after that hideous Super Bowl 52 defeat.
It felt good to see Bill Belichick on the sidelines again, wearing a headset and refusing to give any sort of facial expression that even somewhat resembled a smile. It felt good to see Tom Brady again; he didn’t see a single snap of action on the field – a good thing – but he looked on intently from the sideline (by the way, he looks more like 33 years old than 41).
It felt good to see Rob Gronkowski again. He too didn’t set foot on the field, as we were all praying he wouldn’t. But he was chilling on the sideline, goofy smile and all.
But ultimately, I was disappointed on Thursday night. The Patriots beat the Redskins 26-17, but who cares? It’s Week 1 of the preseason. For all any of us care, the Pats could go 0-4 over the next four weeks. All I really wanted out of this game was to see Danny Etling, the rookie seventh round draft pick, play a little quarterback. Instead, we only got about five percent of Etling, and 95 percent of Brian Hoyer. Ugh.
It seemed like the most logical plan was to play Hoyer the first half, then give Etling the ball in the second half. Give them roughly the same amount of playing time. After all, isn’t Etling going to have a fair chance at earning the backup quarterback job for the season? It’s not just going to be given to Hoyer because he’s spent years in the system, is it? Instead, Hoyer played three quarters and then half of the fourth quarter. Etling barely even got to play a series before the ball was fumbled away.
The preseason is an opportunity for young and inexperienced players to get some playing time. Hoyer is pretty far from young and inexperienced. He’s spent most of his career bouncing from bad team to bad team and being a well below-average starting quarterback. The whole world has seen plenty of Hoyer. We know what he is.
I’d rather see more of what the kid can do. I’m not saying Etling should get more playing time than Hoyer, but at least roughly the same amount. More than just a single drive at the tail end of the fourth quarter.
I know I’m just being a selfish fan who would rather watch the newbie than the old and boring Hoyer, but hey, it’s the preseason! Who cares?
Bill, for the sake of entertainment, for next week’s game against the Eagles, give me more of Etling and less of Hoyer. I’m begging you.