FOXBORO -- Brian Hoyer did his best Sgt, Schultz impression Thursday afternoon.
He saw nothing, he knows nothing and, had we asked him, Hoyer probably would have denied even Tom Brady’s existence. The Patriots backup quarterback has been thrust into the spotlight because of the right-hand injury Brady suffered in practice Wednesday. Though Brady appeared at the media access portion of today’s session, the team listed him on the injury report as not having participated. That would mean Hoyer - as the team’s only healthy signal caller - had to get more reps than usual, right?
“Define what is usual,” he said. “Since I’ve been here there’s been days where I’ve taken a lot of reps and days where I’ve taken any. I just do what’s asked of me.”
So, you were asked to do more today?
“You’ll have to check the injury report. I don’t know if they put that on there or not.”
Okay then. This was just the beginning of a question-and-answer session that provided many of the former and almost none of the latter. Hoyer said he “wasn’t there” when the injury happened. When asked if Brady threw any passes today, the normally genial Hoyer paused before saying tersely, “you have to ask somebody else that question. I’m not going to answer that question.”
There were also a couple of “I’m not going to speak for him” or “you have to ask him” responses. Not unexpected given the nature of the queries but also handled better by every player we spoke to today, from Trey Flowers saying he’s not a hand doctor to James White joking the world will never know how Brady was injured to Kyle Van Noy saying of Brady: “He always looks good. He’s handsome”.
What Hoyer did have a good handle on was what he needs to do to be ready if his number does get called Sunday in the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I prepare every week like I’m going to play,” he said. “Whether I do or don’t...that’s not really up to me. I did the one thing I can benefit from since I was the backup here - I played a lot of football. I’ve been a starter for three different teams. I know how to prepare as a starter. Whether I’m given those reps or not, each rep I’m not getting I take as a mental rep. I stand back there and I go through and I try to think who I’d go to, who would I’d make the Mike [middle linebacker] on this play. Whether I’m getting the reps or not I’m always preparing to play because you never know when your name is going to be called.”
The Patriots hope it doesn’t come to that. Hell, maybe even Hoyer hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“If I don’t play, that’s good for our team.”