In several ways, the New England Patriots franchise has to be ecstatic that the preseason portion of their schedule is now completed, meaning the coaches and presumed starters can now turn their full focus onto the regular season and the preparations necessary to defend their AFC title. Additionally, the Patriots escaped their four preseason contests without any of the team’s significant contributors suffering a catastrophic injury, which would have put assumed regular season into question. Perhaps most importantly, though, the end of the preseason means the Patriots will no longer have to witness the extraordinarily mediocre play of their back-up quarterbacks, Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.
Mallet was the one given the start in Wednesday’s game against the New York Giants, but based on the way in which he played in the first half, head coach Bill Belichick might as well have just plucked a random person out of the stands to play quarterback. It is not as if the random person would have played any worse than Mallett and might even have given the Patriots a better chance of scoring a touchdown.
Unfortunately, we will never know if a random person would have outplayed Mallett because Mallett did play on Wednesday and he did so in such horrendous fashion it is hard to properly describe. Given the opportunity to showcase his passing talent one last time in 2012, Mallett took his 15 pass attempts and did pretty much nothing with them. For the game, he only completed 8 of his passes and gained a measly 40 yards. As if his lack of production in those areas were not terrible enough, Mallett was also sacked twice and lost 11 yards.
His horrifically bad passing line translates to a completion percentage of 53.3 percent, 2.7 yards per pass attempt, 1.7 net yards per pass attempt, and 5.0 yards per completion. Those mind-bogglingly poor numbers further drive home the point of just how far Mallett is from being good enough to warrant an NFL roster spot.
Hoyer, who played in the second half, was really not much better than Mallett as the two back-up quarterbacks seem to be locked in a mighty struggle to determine which one of them is less able to serve as the primary back-up quarterback. In his half of playing time, Hoyer completed nine of his 15 passes for 96 yards. It was not quite as terrible as what Mallett did, but Hoyer could not resist the urge to throw an interception on the second to last play of the game or be sacked three times and lose 15 yards.
Hoyer’s passing stats gave him a completion percentage of 60.0 percent, 6.4 yards per pass attempt, 3.4 adjusted yards per pass attempt, 4.5 net yards per pass attempt, 2.0 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, and 10.7 yards per completion. Therefore, Hoyer can claim superiority over Mallett in the same way a four-foot tall man can claim to be a giant over a three-foot tall man.
Neither Mallett nor Hoyer will ever be good enough to play for the New England Patriots in a long-term capacity, and mediocre performances like the ones they had on Wednesday just make that fact even more obvious. When it is time to find Tom Brady’s successor, the New England Patriots will have to look elsewhere.