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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Patriots: Backup QB plan

By James Walker

» NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Patriots' backup QB situation if Tom Brady is injured and misses time.

Brady gets kudos for a lot of things. But one area Brady doesn't get much credit for is his durability. Brady hasn't missed a start in the past decade, with the exception of 2008 when he tore up his knee in the season opener. Brady, 34, stays in tremendous shape, and it's a major reason why we have little knowledge of New England's backups.

The biggest concern with New England's quarterbacks is that Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett have zero career starts combined. They are unknowns. The most we have learned from these two comes from preseason football (Mallett) and a few passes mostly in relief at the end of blowouts (Hoyer).

The Patriots did well and won 11 games when Brady went down in 2008. Former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel did a good job managing the game, and New England had a top-10 defense. But this Patriots defense, which ranked 31st last season, has a long way to go to take over and win games without Brady. It is much weaker now and would put a ton of pressure on Hoyer or Mallett to put up numbers.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Brady is out for extended period: 61.