FOXBORO - Brian Hoyer has been around long enough to know the deal. He spent as much time post-practice today talking about the guy he backs up - you may have heard of him, a fella by the name of Tom Brady - as he did about his own play here in camp, especially on Brady’s 41st birthday. 

As someone who was here for three-plus years as Brady’s understudy, then went away and returned midway through last season, Hoyer has a great perspective on what, if anything, has changed with 12.

“Someone asked me last week and I said just the gray hair,” smiled Hoyer, knowing full well he himself has zero hair. “It’s inspiring for me to be around because you see a guy who has accomplished so much but still has the drive and passion to come out here. I joked with him the other day and said how many 41-year-olds are running up a hill in full pads right now? In the entire world? So to me, to see someone that I looked up to as a mentor and a role model, to see him still doing it - I feel old at times and I’m only 32 - so it’s fun.”

Brady has been playing the best football of his career the past four seasons, winning two Super Bowls, losing another and getting bounced in the AFC title game. He also capped his 40th year on this planet by being named league MVP. And yet to Hoyer’s eyes, Brady is still as intense and locked in as ever despite a different offseason plan.

 

“…his preparation, how critical he is of everything he does,” noted Hoyer. “He’s so self-critical - whether it’s throwing the ball, a read, and for me, that’s always great for me to see as a reminder that this is how its gotta be done. It’s awesome to be back here and see that nothing has really changed. He’s the same Tom I know. He comes out every day and is competitive and wants to be the best.”

That’s a tough player to be measured against every day, and the offense clearly takes a step back when Hoyer is at the helm (duh). After a solid start to camp, the veteran has scuffled the past two days of camp, even when given a greater workload as was the case Friday. Our own Phil Perry charted competitive periods and had Hoyer 17-of-30 with two interceptions and a fumble. His accuracy just hasn’t been what it’s needed to be, but Hoyer is facing no pressure from rookie Danny Etling, who finally had what would qualify as his first decent day.

“You’re always fighting and for me, look it, I’ve been on a lot of teams and you never know what’s going to happen,” said Hoyer. “The only thing you can control is the way you got out and play. So that’s all the way up to other people and I’m at peace with that. At this point in my career, I go out and try to play the best I can. Whatever happens, happens.”

Hoyer was brought to be in the 'in-case-of-emergency, break-glass' guy. He doesn't have "upside" anymore, but the Pats knew that when the team brought him back. They wanted someone who knew the offense and could be trusted to not fall flat on his face should the moment arise. A couple bad days of training camp won't change that. Hoyer is the next man up, for better or worse.

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