Bruschi says Belichick should play Hoyer

If Tedy Bruschi were running the New England Patriots, then undrafted rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer would make his first NFL start Sunday against the Houston Texans.

In this week's edition of "Bruschi's Breakdown" with ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss, the former Patriots linebacker explains that with so little to play for, there's not much to gain by using Tom Brady.

The club would benefit greatly, however, by giving Hoyer a look.

Says Bruschi:

So if you're Brian Hoyer, and you know Brady isn't going to play, you can go into this saying "This is my week and I have to be ready." That's different than a coach telling him "We'll see how it goes. When we feel like we're going to pull him out, then you're in." An approach like that takes a sense of urgency away from a player. Let Hoyer have an entire week to prepare like a starting quarterback.

The other part of this is that it can give the Patriots some answers as to what Hoyer will be for them. He's had a whole year of development but hasn't had a lot of playing time in games. The Patriots value practice time, but now this is a chance to see what he can do in a game.

If he goes out and looks like the Colts' Curtis Painter last week, you know you have some problems and maybe he's not ready for the big time, so you might think about bringing in another quarterback. But if Hoyer plays well, the coaching staff can come out of that saying "We might have something here. This backup quarterback might be even better than we thought."

Hoyer, a rookie free agent from Michigan State, surprisingly became the lone backup when the Patriots waived Kevin O'Connell and cut Matt Gutierrez and Andrew Walter before the season.

Hoyer has played in four games, completing 11 of his 15 attempts for 71 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He has one rushing touchdown.