NFL context: Patriots & quarterbacks

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
9:30
AM ET
First in an ongoing series looking at each position on the Patriots roster and how it is viewed when compared to the rest of the NFL:

Starter: Tom Brady

Backups: Brian Hoyer, Zac Robinson

NFL chatter: The same theme often emerges when speaking with coaches, scouts, players and analysts around the NFL. As long as Brady is leading the huddle, the Patriots still have a chance to be an elite team. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently called him the best in the NFL.

Overall depth chart: As broken down by Pat Kirwan of NFL.com, the Patriots are one of eight teams to employ a backup with no NFL starting experience. This will mark the fourth straight season the Patriots will take that approach, and while it seems risky, the team showed it can work in 2008 when Matt Cassel emerged. Earlier in Tom Brady's career, Bill Belichick usually had a veteran sounding board at the position, whether it was Damon Huard, Jim Miller, Doug Flutie or Vinny Testaverde. No longer.

Final analysis: Top 3 in the NFL, along with the Colts and Saints.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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