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Patriots & backup quarterbacks

Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News uses the Indianapolis Colts as a springboard to examine the backup quarterback situations across the NFL, and he puts the Patriots near the top of the list.

"The Indianapolis Colts have learned the hard way -- with Peyton Manning on the sidelines while recovering from neck surgery -- about not being prepared if their familiar starting quarterback goes down with an injury," Iyer writes. "Although contending teams don't typically pay a premium to insure their top passing commodity, several have found success landing a capable young passer as an above-average backup plan—contrary to what the Colts have in Kerry Collins, whom they had to sign out of retirement to be their No. 2."

Iyer ranks his top 10 backups in the NFL and puts Brian Hoyer and the Patriots in the second spot.

"As the man behind Brady, Hoyer is being looked at the in the same light as Cassel, who guided New England to a 10-6 record in '08 after Brady went down in Week 1 to the team to which Cassel was eventually traded, the Chiefs," Iyer writes.

The Packers, with Matt Flynn, take the No. 1 spot in Iyer's rankings.