Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Jacoby Brissett struggles in pressure spot of preseason debut

Ty Anderson
August 11, 2017 - 12:51 am

FOXBORO -- Down by a touchdown with just over a minute left and 70 yards away from that score, Patriots third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett was undoubtedly tasked with a challenge that brings about more nerves than your usual preseason opener.

At the same time, it was also the perfect situation for Brissett, who has been worked lightly in camp and arguably playing for his roster spot this month, to find himself in out of the gate.

It just didn’t work out the way that the Patriots nor Brissett had planned.

“It was,” Brissett said when asked if his adrenaline was going at the start of the drive that came up short with multiple incompletions sailed short and/or beyond the endzone from the Jacksonville 41-yard line. “I mean, you’re trying to go win the game. That’s probably why I sailed it 10 yards out of bounds, so I’ve got to control that a little bit.”

“Whatever situations come up, come up, we can't control what they are,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick bluntly said after the 31-24 failed comeback bid. “Once they come up, we try to do the best we can with them. We're not full throttle in a lot of situations at this point. The ones that come up, come up. The ones that don't, don't.”

Finishing his night 8-of-13 for 88 yards and zero touchdowns, the return to game action for the 24-year-old Brissett was another chance for him to show his continued development after a thumb issue limited his rookie season, and show that he can play an effective game within a Patriots structure he’s clearly still trying to find an optimal fit in.

“Just to go out there and make the most of the opportunity,” said Brissett. “You want to come back and win at the end and give them a chance at the end, but just to come out, get a good operation and just make the most of the opportunity that was handed to me.

“It was an opportunity to go out there and put something good on film, an opportunity to play an NFL football game, which is a dream come true,” he continued. “You’ve just got to go out there and make the most of it and, I think, just learn from this.”

But this game didn’t come with a noticeable improvement in some of the things that people have questioned with Brissett (such as his undeniably long delivery when throwing the ball), which is something Belichick could have alluded to in his postgame press conference when asked about reps and what he expects to see from players that are not necessarily first-team talents.

“Everything is important. Practice is important, the games are important. I would say the rate of improvement in the players is the most important thing,” Belichick noted. “If a player is making a big jump in improvement, then that’s a good thing. If he’s not, unless the level is high enough without improvement, then it’s probably not a good thing.

“It will just depend on not only what the player is doing, but what kind of progress he is making, how quickly he’s improving. We have to try and gauge where that’s going to go. Is it going to keep going or level off? So the more practices, the more games we have, the more time we have to evaluate, then probably the better of a decision we'll make.”

And relegated to second-string duty (Brissett didn’t even enter the game until late in the third quarter), and with Tom Brady expected to suit up at some point this preseason, opportunities to evaluate Brissett will likely dwindle as the summer comes to a close, which is not the best thing to hear if you’re Brissett, especially after tonight.

But if given another shot, the second-year quarterback is sure he won’t miss.

“Next time that opportunity comes, just make sure I hit it,” Brissett said.

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