Hoyer & Patriots' backup QB spot

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, third-year quarterback Brian Hoyer touches on competition and how he's spending his offseason in hopes of building off his 2010 campaign. Hoyer has been based in New England, where he's thrown regularly with receivers Brandon Tate and Darnell Jenkins, among others.

His presence, along with the drafting of Ryan Mallett in the third round, gives the Patriots one of the more promising backup situations in the NFL.

Entering the 2010 season, some rankings had the Patriots near the bottom of the list (e.g. Pro Football Weekly) when it comes to backup quarterbacks, but that figures to change based on what Hoyer has done in his limited opportunities. Hoyer showed he could move the offense in the 2010 preseason and then in the regular-season finale. His 42-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Tate in the 2010 finale was one of the impressive plays of the year.

“You try to build on it," Hoyer says in the piece. "We always talk about getting better every practice, every game. Last year, I got to play a little more, against Miami, than my rookie year and that one game against Houston. So that was a good experience to get in there and play early in the second half, and be out there against Miami’s starters. I think that’s obviously some meaningful playing time.

"Just another year under your belt, I think you learn a lot. I just want to keep improving on that. With the lockout, it’s kind of hard. We haven’t been able to do OTAs and things like that, but you just try to stay on top of it mentally and obviously with the workouts too.”