Patriots and QB changes in NFL

As Len Pasquarelli's "Tip Sheet" on The Sports XChange points out, this week's NFL games will have at least two new starting quarterbacks -- Miami's Tyler Thigpen last night and Carolina's Brian St. Pierre on Sunday.

That will bring the number of different quarterbacks who will have started this season to 51, which is a stunning statistic and reflects the importance of developing quarterbacks.

The Patriots have aced the test in the past, with Matt Cassel, and currently have second-year man Brian Hoyer as their backup. Hoyer has shown signs of being a capable fill-in, if not more.

The Patriots' opponent on Sunday, the Colts, have been fortunate in this regard as Peyton Manning has proven to be one of the most durable players at the position. But as this NFL season has once again proven, teams must always have a backup option ready to go, because stability at quarterback is hard to come by.

Teams with the fewest starting quarterbacks since Sept. 6, 1998

1 -- Colts (Peyton Manning)

2 -- Packers (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers)

4 -- Patriots (Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Scott Zolak)