First in a series of positional reviews from the Patriots’ 2009 season:
Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
Stat check: Brady started all 16 regular-season games and finished 371 of 565 for 4,398 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 65.8 completion percentage was the second highest of his career.
First instinct: Brady seemed to make more mistakes in the decision-making process, in critical situations, than he has in the past. The game-swinging first-quarter interception in New Orleans, the fourth-quarter interception to Randy Moss in Miami, and the late interception in the finale in Houston come to mind. That continued in the playoffs against the Ravens.
Storyline not be overlooked: Brady playing hurt, most notably with his ribs and right ring finger. At one point, he mentioned that he developed some bad habits with his mechanics, perhaps as a result of overcompensating for his injuries.
Future: Brady is signed through 2010 and it would be surprising if he enters next year without an extension. The Patriots also look like they have a keeper in Hoyer, who showed enough in preseason and 60 regular-season snaps to be a leading contender to be the second-stringer again next year.
Final thought: Brady turns 33 in August. He has said he would like to play until he’s 40, and he’s still a top quarterback. One of the Patriots’ offseason priorities should be building around him to better protect him, while giving him more weapons to be successful.