Jacoby Brissett is expected to make his first NFL start Thursday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Jacoby Brissett is expected to make his first NFL start Thursday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

The first two weeks of this season aside, a fine goal for pretty much any quarterback coming into the league is to be Russell Wilson. The 2012 third-round pick started from Week 1 of his rookie year and had 28 total touchdowns over his first three seasons before breaking out with 35 last season (35 passing, one rushing).

As it relates to the Patriots’ quarterback situation, it isn’t Wilson’s entire body of work that matters, but the very beginning of his career. Entering this season, Wilson was the last quarterback drafted in the third round or later to start a game in the first three weeks of his rookie season, a task that has since been undertaken by Cowboys 2016 fourth-rounder Dak Prescott.

Barring an acquisition or some terrific news on Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots rookie Jacoby Brissett, whom the team drafted in the third round in April, will face the same challenge Thursday. Though mid-round rookie QBs starting this early in the season has historically been a major rarity in the NFL, this season has been something of a when-it-rains-it-pours phenomenon, as Cody Kessler, chosen two spots after Brissett in the late third round, will start for the Browns in Week 3 as well.

While Wilson and Prescott provide precedent for such an occurrence, their situations can’t really compare to Brissett’s. Wilson was given a shot at the starting gig in training camp of his rookie year, something he seized by beating out free agent signing Matt Flynn and former-good-player-whom-I’d-completely-forgotten-started-the-previous-season-for-Seattle Tarvaris Jackson. When Wilson started his first pro game, he’d had a camp and a preseason worth of taking ample snaps with the first-teamers.

In the case of Prescott, the Cowboys learned of starter Tony Romo’s unavailability after Week 3 of the preseason, giving Dallas two and a half weeks to prepare their rookie to start.Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 9.15.09 PM

Though he had the offseason to learn the playbook, Brissett hasn’t been brought along the way Wilson and Prescott were. With the Patriots giving the soon-to-be-suspended Tom Brady ample reps in training camp along with Garoppolo, Brissett was left to take third-and-fourth-team reps in training camp and preseason games, playing with and against lesser quality players than a team would use to prepare a quarterback for regular-season play. Brissett didn’t throw the ball much in the preseason until the fourth and final exhibition game, when he went 13-for-21 for 152 passing yards.

Now, after being thrown to the wolves on Sunday following Garoppolo’s injury, the Pats don’t have any real practices to prepare Brissett for his first NFL start, should he be their guy. The team held meetings Monday and had a walkthrough Tuesday. They’ll have another walkthrough Wednesday leading up to Thursday night’s game against the Texans.

Wilson and Prescott’s opening weeks of their rookie seasons present two different scenarios. The Seahawks, who were getting the best season of Marshawn Lynch’s career, relied less on Wilson’s arm. Wilson threw 30 passes in just one of those three weeks, as the Seahawks picked up wins in games in which he threw 20 and 21 passes and totaled 151 and 130 yards, respectively. The Cowboys, on the other hand, haven’t gotten much out of rookie back Ezekiel Elliott and have relied more on the arm of Prescott, who threw for 227 yards in Week 1 and 292 yards in Week 2.

New England didn’t have a Lynch at its disposal when Brissett entered the game in the second quarter of Sunday’s game, but LeGarrette Blount got leaned on for 29 carries (19 of which came after Brissett entered the game) as the team limited Brissett’s passes. Brissett threw the ball on just 9 of his 36 plays from scrimmage, throwing the ball just once on four of his six drives excluding the Pats’ kneel-down to end the game.

Spotted a 21-point lead and suddenly a victim of poor team defense, Brissett and the Pats held on for dear life Sunday; the concern for the Pats now is whether they can win a game with a mid-round quarterback having to play the whole way. Recent history says yes, but neither the Seahawks nor the Cowboys were dealt the hand the Patriots were.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Bill Belichick wasn't in the mood for laughs on Tuesday.</p>
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Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty (32) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Devin McCourty leads the Patriots secondary against a potent Texans receiving corps. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — While the Patriots held on to win on Sunday against the Dolphins, many fans recall what happened in the second half and might rightfully feel nervous with the Texans vertical passing game coming to town.

In the second half Sunday, Ryan Tannehill carved up the Patriots defense for 273 yards and two touchdowns as the Dolphins nearly erased a 28-point third-quarter hole and came close to tying the game in the closing seconds.

More to the point, this week has been all about overcoming adversity and distraction. The adversity is losing a starting quarterback to injury in the first half and preparing on a short week. The distraction, mostly from the outside, comes from the uncertainty of who will be running the offense.

But these are the Patriots and there’s never a challenge too big to be embraced, something Bill Belichick once again reminded his team of this week.

“I just think it’s complete belief and faith in us as a team,” Devin McCourty said Tuesday. “I think as players, Bill always says that the coaches coach, but the players have to go out there and play. When you’re on a team and you believe everybody is out there trying to work and trying to get better, everybody wants to play here. When guys get the opportunity to go out there and play, you believe they’ve been waiting for this, so I think we all understand what we have to do to win.

“I think sometimes, you worry about so many other things that really don’t translate or have anything to do with winning and that throws you off. I think here, we have to focus on what we have to do to try to win. No matter what happens, it’s always a clear cut message. When we came in here [Monday] and moved on to the Texans, Bill stood up there in the meeting and said, ‘We need to do this to win.’ I think that becomes a focus throughout the week. This is what we need to do to win, and if something comes up and it doesn’t pertain to those things, we’ve got to kind of forget about it and move on.”

Belichick has ultimate trust and faith that his players are mature enough not to worry about the quarterback situation. That’s his job. The job of the defensive players is to be concerned about Brock Osweiler and the Texans. And do to that, the players must have faith in each other to be focused on the mission and the game plan.

“I think that’s huge. For us, that starts in April. You come in here and guys are working out together, you go through OTAs, you go through training camp,” McCourty said. “We do a ton of things together. We’re in this building 12-13 hours per day. You build trust in guys. You go out there, you practice hard, and if guys do it on the practice field, you know they can do it in a game. We can’t go out there and play a bunch of games per week, but if you go out there and you practice hard and execute at a high level, I believe that you can go do that in a game. I think the effort and the time we put into being able to be prepared in practice carries over to the game.”

Jarvis Landry had 137 yards on 10 catches Sunday. DeVante Parker had 106 yards on eight grabs. Jordan Cameron and Kenny Stills had the two touchdown receptions. Now Houston comes to town with DeAndre Hopkins and rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. Those are three weapons that figure prominently in Osweiler’s arsenal (though Miller is battling a hamstring issue).

On Hopkins, McCourty has last season to draw upon. In the Patriots 27-6 win on Dec. 13, 2015, the Patriots secondary held Hopkins to three catches on six targets for 52 yards and no touchdowns. He did catch a meaningless 40-yarder in the fourth quarter with the Patriots in complete command.

“He’s a vertical guy, gets down the field,” McCourty said. “I think the biggest thing he does is just catch the ball. I don’t care if there are defenders on top of him jumping with him, if there are two guys jumping with him, he does a great job of just locating the football and being able to go up in traffic and get it. We played them towards the end of the season last year so we got to watch a whole year’s worth of really top-10 highlight plays of guys being there in coverage and him just going up and getting the football. We’ve talked a lot this week about – it’s important to be there, but it’s more important to make a play and get the ball out. Guys are there on him in coverage, but he somehow comes down with the ball whether it’s deep, whether it’s in cuts, comebacks, he does a great job and has great hands just to go out there and be able to pluck the ball out of the air.”

Then there’s Fuller. The rookie out of Notre Dame has had a big impact in the first two games, catching nine passes for a team-leading 211 yards and a touchdown.

“He creates and deserves attention,” McCourty said. “You can’t just worry about Hopkins. You do that, and he’ll burn you for two 30, 50-yard bombs. If you watch throughout the preseason and the first two games, he’s been the guy that’s been able to get vertical and get behind the defense and has big catches for them. You can see they have designed plays to get him the ball and let him use his speed, even throwing him quick screen plays that make a guy or two miss and he goes in and gets in the end zone.

“It’s always hard when you’ve got two vertical threats out there because you’ve got to respect both of them. You can’t just be out there worrying about one guy going deep because if you shut that down, the other guy will beat you going deep three or four times. It forces the secondary to really be on top of their game across the board.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

New York Post writer Bart Hubbuch, best known around these parts for being obsessed with the Patriots and trying to get people fired, seemingly deleted his Twitter account Tuesday night.

New York Post writer Bart Hubbuch, best known around these parts for being obsessed with the Patriots and trying to get people fired, seemingly deleted his Twitter account Tuesday night.

Hubbuch’s account, which saw him tweet sexist and racist things in addition to making jokes about Patriots fans committing suicide, was noticed to be down hours after he sent a tweet accusing the Patriots of being racist for only starting white quarterbacks.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
ESPN's Trent Dilfer gives unique insight on Jimmy Garropolo's shoulder AC strain.

[0:00:00] ... Time for our regular weekly visit our Tuesday visit with Trent Dilfer. Former NFL quarterback now an NFL analyst for ESPN Trent brought to you by north and Subaru Mazda. And drafting use promo ...
[0:01:59] ... very level headed when discussing Tim McGraw low we have somewhere between Dan Marino Joseph Montana and John Elway I'm not sure he's somewhere in the air maybe through a notch above those guys. But as ...
[0:05:03] ... elvis' little bit. It how wraps. We're talking to ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer Bill Belichick is coached thirteen. Thursday games in his career. He's eleven and a with Tom Brady is his quarterback. He's only two with Drew Bledsoe and Matt Cassel is his quarterback. As much as we give coaching the credit for the short turnaround. It sounds as though it's the combination ...
[0:10:54] ... talk to next week are our banks that is ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer joining us 6177797937. Is telephone number tax lightest 37937. We dive right back in your phone calls coming up next here on ...






ESPN's Trent Dilfer gives unique insight on Jimmy Garropolo's shoulder AC strain.

[0:00:00] ... Time for our regular weekly visit our Tuesday visit with Trent Dilfer. Former NFL quarterback now an NFL analyst for ESPN Trent brought to you by north and Subaru Mazda. And drafting use promo ...
[0:01:59] ... very level headed when discussing Tim McGraw low we have somewhere between Dan Marino Joseph Montana and John Elway I'm not sure he's somewhere in the air maybe through a notch above those guys. But as ...
[0:05:03] ... elvis' little bit. It how wraps. We're talking to ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer Bill Belichick is coached thirteen. Thursday games in his career. He's eleven and a with Tom Brady is his quarterback. He's only two with Drew Bledsoe and Matt Cassel is his quarterback. As much as we give coaching the credit for the short turnaround. It sounds as though it's the combination ...
[0:10:54] ... talk to next week are our banks that is ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer joining us 6177797937. Is telephone number tax lightest 37937. We dive right back in your phone calls coming up next here on ...






FOXBORO — When the doors to the Patriots locker room opened on Tuesday, everyone swarmed over to rookie Jacoby Brissett’s locker hoping to get some intel on the team’s plans at quarterback for Thursday night against the Texans.

Jacoby Brissett

Jacoby Brissett

FOXBORO — When the doors to the Patriots locker room opened on Tuesday, everyone swarmed over to rookie Jacoby Brissett’s locker hoping to get some intel on the team’s plans at quarterback for Thursday night against the Texans.

Jimmy Garoppolo reportedly sprained his AC joint in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins and his status for Thursday night against the Texans is unclear. Garoppolo was a limited participant in the walkthrough Tuesday and Brissett wouldn’t give anything when it comes to divulging the team’s quarterbacking plans.

“It’s the same preparation every week,” Brissett said. “Just going out there, preparing and getting ready for a game.”

Added Brissett: “No matter what we do, just got to be ready to go.”

The NC State product was drafted in the third round of this year’s draft and has only been a professional a few short months. He did perform well in relief of Garoppolo Sunday as he went 6-for-9 with 92 yards, keeping the Patriots in the game as Garoppolo left with a 21-0 lead.

“It’s been a learning process since I got here,” Brissett said. “You know it’s going to continue to be throughout my career. Just taking this with the same approach every week.”

Regardless of who plays quarterback, the Patriots will have their hands full as the Texans come in 2-0 and leading the NFL in sacks.

“We’ve just got to come together as a team,” Brissett said. “Short week. Got to get ready for a good team to come in and for a hard battle.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Brock Osweiler knows exactly what Jimmy Garoppolo is going through. (Erik Williams/USA Today Sports)

Brock Osweiler knows exactly what Jimmy Garoppolo is going through. (Erik Williams/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — No one knows what Jimmy Garoppolo is going through better than Brock Osweiler.

Osweiler backed up Peyton Manning in Denver for four seasons, so he knows what it’s like to play behind a legendary quarterback and even get into games and play well, as Osweiler did so in eight games last season.

The current Texans quarterback said it isn’t easy as some may think.

“I know how difficult it is,” Osweiler said on a conference call Tuesday. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, playing backup quarterback, that’s the best position in the world.’ What they don’t understand is when we leave the building at 5 o’clock on Wednesday or Thursday, you still need to go home and study and prepare just like you’re the starter and usually you won’t get any reps on Sunday but you have to approach as if you are the starter. To see somebody like Jimmy who’s stayed patient, stayed disciplined, constantly gotten better, absolutely. You’re very happy to see someone have success like that.”

Osweiler offered some advice for Garoppolo with what it’s like to play behind such a great quarterback and also what it takes to be successful.

“One, it takes a lot of patience and two, it takes a lot of discipline,” he said. “I do know what Jimmy’s going through right now, I’ve been in those shoes. I was in those shoes for 3.5 years before I really got my opportunity. I say patience because that’s a long time to sit and not play. The discipline comes in just because you’re not playing, doesn’t mean you don’t work hard.”

Garoppolo made the most of his opportunity this season before injuring his right shoulder, as over six quarters he is 42-for-60 passing for 498 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 117.2.

The current Texans quarterback is aware of how well Garoppolo has played.

“Just from the way Jimmy’s been playing I can tell he hasn’t wasted a single day,” Osweiler said. “I’m sure he approached it very similarly to how I did — whether he was the backup or playing, I wanted to show up to the building and get better at something every day. There was a coach that told me, ‘If you’re not getting better, you’re getting replaced,’ and I heard that very early in my career. I wanted to soak in as much as I could from being around Peyton and then I wanted to make myself a better player on a daily basis.”

Naturally, when a backup plays well, it might create some tension between he and the starter from a competitive standpoint, which is what happened in Denver last year and Manning reportedly bad mouthed Osweiler behind the scenes, eventually leading to him signing with Houston in the offseason.

He explained competition is natural and happens at every position, not just at quarterback.

“I think that’s almost every quarterback in the National Football League and really, it’s almost every position,” he said. “We all know that the NFL is the best of the best and there’s great competition across the board so any time you’re hurt or something like that and another guy gets an opportunity, he’s gonna try to make the most of it. I completely understand why things transpired the way they did. I don’t hold any grudges or anything like that, it makes complete sense to me and there are no hard feelings or anything like that.”

As for Thursday night, it doesn’t appear Garoppolo will start, but he will be Jacoby Brissett’s backup as he reportedly is dealing with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable