After Super Bowl LIII, Patriots safety Devin McCourty complimented backup quarterback Brian Hoyer for getting the defense ready for games through his work with the scout team offense and said Stephon Gilmore‘s crucial interception in the fourth quarter came on a play that the Patriots knew because Hoyer ran it in practice.
Hoyer’s knowledge of the Rams offense went beyond work done in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Hoyer played quarterback on Kyle Shanahan-led offenses in Cleveland and San Francisco, which he said gave him a lot of insight into Sean McVay’s offense with the Rams.
McVay worked under Shanahan in Washington and Hoyer said he realized he knew the offense while watching Amazon’s All or Nothing series on the Rams as well as the episode of Peyton Manning’s ESPN series about Jared Goff.
“I guess that’s the risk in putting yourself out there like that,” Hoyer said to Albert Breer of SI.com.
Hoyer’s knowledge meant he knew that the Rams “don’t have an answer for all-out pressure” and that’s what the Patriots dialed up on the play that ended with Gilmore picking off Goff. Those insights as well as ones gleaned by the defense on its own added up to a very well-prepared Patriots team.
“Once we got into Atlanta, into the preparation, it was frustrating for me,” Hoyer said. “They had everything covered. I was like, ‘Either these guys know what all our plays are, or they’re gonna ball out in the game.’ You could see it. They were playing so fast, they were so on top of it. And you get to the game, and they go and have the best defensive performance I’ve ever witnessed.”
Hoyer only threw two passes for the Patriots in 2018, but it’s clear his value to the team was better measured in other ways.