With the Pats season over and free agency (hopefully) and the draft still a ways away, I figured this would be a good time to look back - and look forward - with some discussion at each position on the team.
Jonathan Compton (practice squad)
Storyline not to be overlooked: Are the Patriots flirting with trouble by carrying just two quarterbacks? Sunday’s NFC Championship Game is one example of the importance of having a third option on the depth chart as Caleb Hanie stepped in for top options Jay Cutler (knee injury) and Todd Collins (ineffective). The Patriots have had just two on the active roster in each of the last two seasons. In the event of injury to Brady or Hoyer, receiver Julian Edelman would probably be the emergency option as he played quarterback at Kent State.
Future: Brady is signed through 2014, while Hoyer enters the final year of the three-year deal he signed as a rookie in 2011. That could make Hoyer a restricted free agent after next season, depending on the new collective bargaining agreement. It’s likely the team would tender him at a high level to keep him as he’s shown promise. Crompton, a 2010 fifth-round pick of the Chargers who played in college at Tennessee, was on the team’s practice squad this past season.
Final thought: Brady’s recovery from surgery on his right foot bears watching. Barring a setback, he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, if not sooner. Hoyer is a promising No. 2 quarterback and if Crompton shows enough in training camp to earn a No. 3 spot, the Patriots will be well stocked. Still, drafting and developing quarterbacks is smart business and with nine selections, this is an area the Patriots could target in the mid-to-late rounds if the right player is there.
Brady completed 324 of 492 passes (65.9 percent) during the regular season for 3,900 yards, 36 touchdowns and four interceptions. He finished the regular season by completing an NFL-record 335 consecutive passes without an interception.
Brady played very poorly in the playoff loss to the Jets, as he looked rattled, unsure of himself and as a result, he was inefficient with his throws. Two of Brady's worst games in the last two seasons have come in playoff defeats, and he has lost four of his last six playoff games, including three in a row. Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL and built his legacy by winning in the postseason, but he hasn't been the same guy in recent years.
Offseason Question Do the Patriots have any interest in carrying three quarterbacks on the active roster?
01-26-2011 03:17 PM
Re: 2011 Offseason Outlook - Quarterback
Maybe the Pats and the Colts could employ the same strategy. Use their #1 QB during the regular season, and then let the backup work those playoff games.
Lol I jest.
01-26-2011 08:37 PM
Re: 2011 Offseason Outlook - Quarterback
I would really like to draft Greg McElroy with a late pick. He may not have the arm strength to be a starting NFL QB, but his intelligence and intangibles are off the chart. I was a Brady fan from his Michigan days, and McElroy has shades of Brady.
Not saying he'll be a HOFer or anything, but I think he'd at least be a decent back-up and well worth a 5th or 6th round pick.
2010, in three sentences: Extraordinary. When it comes to his 16-game regular season, football historians can put Brady’s performance in a time capsule for future generations to admire, a performance made all the more impressive by the fact that the Patriots traded away their No. 1 receiver and No. 1 running back during the season. No wonder he’s the odds on favorite to win his second MVP when the winner is announced next month.
The skinny: Until the playoff loss to the Jets, Brady was having one of the best seasons of an already illustrious career. But in the postseason, he was less than his best — in the divisional playoff loss to the Jets, an early interception (his first since Oct. 17) seemed to rattle him, and the pressure (combined with zone coverage, something the Patriots clearly didn’t anticipate) gave Brady a hard time. Earlier this month, the quarterback underwent surgery on his right foot, which had reportedly been bothering him for much of the 2010 season. Brady, who will be 34 before the start of the 2011 season, is expected to be ready when training camp rolls around in July, but the foot certainly bears watching going forward. Hoyer remains a quality backup, but he is entering the final year of a three-year contract he inked as a rookie. Meanwhile, Crompton, a fifth-round pick of the Chargers in 2010, is finishing up his first season in New England. However, as they have done on several occasions in the past, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Patriots take a quarterback in the later rounds of the draft.
01-27-2011 10:17 PM
Re: 2011 Offseason Outlook - Quarterback
Weren't people relatively high on Crompton? Maybe we can get Ponder aka Pennington Jr.
Few NFL teams are completely set at quarterback like the Patriots. They've got a franchise quarterback in Tom Brady, and two-year veteran Brian Hoyer has locked down the backup job since his first training camp as a pro.
If the Pats were interested in adding a third quarterback through free agency, they'd likely go with a developmental project who would be happy with learning the ropes with the understanding that he's the clear-cut third-stringer. It's certainly a gamble to only carry two quarterbacks on the active roster, but if the Patriots ever needed to look to their third option, the game's outcome would have been long since decided anyway.
Fit for New England At this point, Drew Stanton still looks like a career-long backup unless he can get the right type of teaching and development, and New England could be a good place for him. Hoyer actually took over for Stanton when he left Michigan State, so a reunion could heighten their compete level, which could yield some nice results for each backup.
For the second consecutive season, the Patriots went with exactly two quarterbacks on their active roster for the entire year: Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer.
And once again, they waited till late in the year to add a third to the practice squad. The gamble seemed to have paid off both times, as Brady took nearly every snap and Hoyer filled in capably on the few occasions when he was given the opportunity.
How much longer the team can afford to go this route is another question. This is a position where the team could conceivably invest a draft pick and even sign a veteran free agent to add depth and competition to the backup spots.
7 – Jonathan Crompton
Originally drafted by San Diego last April, Crompton couldn’t hang on with the Chargers, who released him in September. He was out of work till November, when the Patriots signed him to the practice squad. He could get another shot in ’11 if the team doesn’t elect to bring in more experienced or talented players.
8 – Brian Hoyer
Continued to grow in his second year as Brady’s understudy. Hoyer has probably done enough to warrant at least being the third QB, if not remaining as the undisputed backup. He enters the final year of his current contract this season. It wouldn’t be inconceivable for the team to give him an extension before the deal runs out.
Some mediots covering this team have managed to not learn a thing in the process. Some teams really need veteran backups and lots of option in camp. This team isn't one of them.
I like McElroy if he doesn't go too early in the desperate quest for a QB. There is a guy over on Extreme Skins who came up with some sort of computer metric for predicting the potential success level of QB draft prospects. He's very high on McElroy and says he projects (within this class) to be the only potential possible next Brady...
You can improve arm strength and accuracy (although he's already fairly accurate) via conditioning and mechanics. Poise, field vision, pocket presence, decision making, the drive to master reading defenses and continue working on your game, leadership on and off the field...not as easily developed...nor are bad habits easily untaught.