Yes, Brian Hoyer is an experienced and respected member of the Patriots. Sure, he knows the playbook inside and out. Absolutely, he won’t freak out on the national stage against the Chiefs.
Regardless, the challenge for the New England offense isn’t about Hoyer as much as it’s about the rest of the players.
Although all plays comes from the same playbook, Newton and Hoyer require offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to refer to different sections of the binder. Thus, after a week of preparation involving plays that mesh with Newton’s skill set (i.e., the plays McDaniels designed in Denver for Tim Tebow), the Patriots (unless they ask Hoyer to run the plays picked for Newton) will have to pivot to a different offensive game plan.
That’s the challenge of pulling things together on short notice. Of course, it’s no different than the challenge the Patriots would face if Newton were injured during a game. The challenge remains that, regardless of Hoyer’s skills, abilities, moxie, whatever, a wrench was thrown into the gears when Newton tested positive and Hoyer got the nod.
The change also affects Kansas City’s defensive preparations, which may have been made easier by the fact that they faced the Ravens last Monday. Regardless, it likely will be harder now for the Patriots to match the Chiefs on the scoreboard, which in turn will make it a lot harder for the Patriots to win.