Could the New England Patriots head into the 2020 regular season with No. 2 as their No. 1? According to one former member of the team, there seems to be a realistic chance that Brian Hoyer will be the Patriots’ starting quarterback to open the first season without future Hall of Famer Tom Brady: Rob Ninkovich recently explained why he thinks that Hoyer and not Jarrett Stidham will be the team’s choice to lead the offense — at least early on.
“I think Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1 and I say that because the quarterback position is one of the most important for reps under center, seeing defensive looks, looking at coverage, understanding the offense,” Ninkovich said during a recent appearance on the ESPN show Get Up. “Look, they’re not practicing right now. There’s no minicamp, there’s no offseason, there’s no training camp. We don’t know when that’s going to happen.”
“If you have a veteran quarterback who has been in the system, understands what to expect what an NFL season is like, you’re gonna want to go with a guy who has the veteran leadership, also what it takes to be in that building,” he continued. “Look, when you’re a second-year player, you really don’t realize what a season’s like as a starter. You don’t understand what it’s going to take, and not having an offseason does not help.”
Ninkovich, who spent eight years in New England and won two Super Bowls with the organization, certainly has a valid point: with offseason workouts currently taking place in a virtual setting, the Patriots’ coaching staff might feel more confident going with experience than upside. Hoyer would offer just that considering that he has appeared in a combined 71 NFL regular season and playoff games compared to Stidham’s three.
Then again, Stidham was able to beat Hoyer out for the backup quarterback spot behind Brady and has one season worth of experience in the system under his belt. Add that the team is high on his potential, and you get why Bill Belichick and company might feel confident in the youngster even in light of the current circumstances.