This is the first in a series of position-by-position looks at the Patriots' personnel entering the 2011 offseason. We begin with an analysis of New England's QB situation.
Overview: The Patriots have the fortune of being one of the teams in the league with a franchise quarterback. Since 2002, there has been no question who is starting under center on opening day for New England — Tom Brady. And with Brady having signed a contract extension through 2014, the team's stability at the position will continue.
Not only do the Pats have one of the best signalcallers in the league but Brian Hoyer is a fine backup. No, he probably would not start for another team, but he's what the Pats look for in a backup for Brady.
Here's a breakdown of each of the quarterbacks on the roster:
Tom Brady: Brady is coming off one of his top seasons statistically, as he was the unanimous NFL MVP in 2010. He threw 36 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, setting the league record for most consecutive pass attempts without throwing a pick. There are two questions looming for Brady heading into 2011. First, how will his offseason foot surgery affect him? He should be ready for training camp (whenever that is), and the injury didn't affect his performance last season — his ankle injury first appeared on the practice report starting Nov. 7, keeping him out of Wednesday practices. The second question is whether or not Brady can get over his recent playoff struggles. After a near-perfect conclusion to the regular season, Brady threw an interception that halted a likely scoring drive early and struggled in the Pats' 28-21 divisional-round loss to the Jets. He hasn't brought New England to the Super Bowl since 2007, losing his last three playoff games — two of which were at home.
Brian Hoyer: Brady's backup appeared in five games in 2010, but looked good in his extended action in the season finale against the Dolphins. He completed 7-of-13 passes for 122 yards and a nice touchdown pass to WR Brandon Tate. In 57 preseason attempts, he threw only one pick. He might not be the successor to Brady in a few years, but he fits what the team needs in a No. 2 QB — he's dependable and doesn't turn the ball over.
Bottom line: Brady and Hoyer aren't going anywhere anytime soon. The Patriots' QB position is as solid as it gets with the reigning MVP at the helm, and the only reason the position would get questioned is if he were to get hurt. For the next few seasons, the only change that could occur is the addition of a young, developmental signalcaller acquired in the draft.