Mallett has the superior physical tools while Hoyer has the better mental attributes to be New England’s backup at this point. New England’s preseason schedule looks like this right now. I will grade the depth of each secondary that the Patriots quarterbacks play.
Week 1 VS Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 2 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 3 @ Detroit Lions
Week 4 VS New York Giants
Week 1 VS Jacksonville Jaguars Secondary
The Jaguars have a weak secondary. Besides cornerback Rashean Mathis and strong safety Dawan Landry their secondary has nothing to offer. Tom Brady could put his left hand behind his back handcuff his left hand and still torch this Jaguars secondary. That’s how horrific the Jaguars secondary is. If the first team secondary is that bad then Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett should have no problems torching a 2nd and 3rd team secondary. Both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett should torch the Jaguars backup secondaries considering the fact that the Jaguars lack a #2 starter at corner or a starting free safety for that matter.
If Hoyer struggles against the Jaguars secondary then Mallett will likely be the backup heading into week 2 of the preseason going against a 1st team and 2nd team secondary. Mallett would run away with the backup job if he did well against the Tampa Bay secondary and if he struggled against the Buccaneers secondary then Hoyer may reenter the backup conversation.
If Ryan Mallett struggles against a 3rd string Jaguars secondary then the Patriots may as well hand Brian Hoyer the backup job.
Week 2 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Secondary
Tampa Bay’s first team secondary has Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib at cornerback. Tanard Jackson will return at free safety with Sean Jones playing strong safety. This is an experienced secondary that will give Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett some trouble. This secondary cannot make a big play as long as Tom Brady is on the field. Tom Brady will have too much success picking apart this Buccaneers secondary. Good thing for Tampa Bay that this is a preseason game.
Tampa Bay’s second team features Myron Lewis and EJ Biggers along with free safety Cody Grimm and strong safety Larry Asante. This could be a formidable 2nd team secondary that could possibly throw Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett off their A game.
Tampa Bay’s third team will feature rookie corner Anthony Gaitor and DJ Johnson as a 3rd team corner. Rookie Strong Safety Ahmad Black will also play on the third team. Free safety Dominique Harris will be on the Buccaneers 3rd team secondary. I think this secondary could get an interception against Ryan Mallett.
Week 3 @ Detroit Lions Secondary
Detroit may have no secondary, but the Detroit Lions have tons of depth on their defensive line with a stacked 1st team and 2nd team defensive line. Heck even some 3rd team walk ons could contribute with the depth the Lions have on the defensive line.
This preseason matchup against the Lions will test Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett’s composure at the quarterback position. Bill Beliecheck may know who his backup is by the end of this game.
Week 4 VS New York Giants Secondary
The New York Giants have tons of depth on their defense. I honestly cannot see Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett picking apart the Giants 2nd team and 3rd team defenses.
I say Brian Hoyer wins the backup job at this point. No one will know who New England’s backup is until all 4 preseason games are over with.