|Credit: John Wilcox|
During an ESPN broadcast yesterday, Bruschi said he wouldn't be surprised if third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett sees the field during the first four games of the regular season if Tom Brady serves his suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo struggles. He cites Bill Belichick's willingness to go with the player that gives the team the best chance to win.
“Jacoby Brissett comes in — if Garoppolo struggles or Garoppolo gets hurt because the offensive line isn’t on the same page, you may have Jacoby Brissett come in to play some reps, because coach Belichick is not shy about putting in who he feels is doing best and gives him the best chance to win,” Bruschi said on an ESPN broadcast Wednesday.
It wouldn't be a complete shock if Belichick did this. He rolled the dice with Brady in 2001 after Drew Bledsoe was cleared to return to game action after suffering a sheared blood vessel in his chest early in that season. He also stuck with Brady when the Patriots went into Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams despite Bledsoe coming in during the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers and leading the Patriots to a 24-17 win.
And while Garoppolo has been sharp during the team's mandatory minicamp, that obviously doesn't mean he'll be as successful when the games begin. Bruschi thinks Garoppolo will struggle during the first four games, but it's not because of the player.
“I think [Garoppolo]’s going to have some difficulty in the first four games, not because of him lacking as a player but because of this coaching staff,” Bruschi said. “They really believe that first month that September is an extension of the preseason. They’re still really figuring out who they are, conceptually. All of these new additions that they have — the Martellus Bennett’s, the Jonathan Cooper’s. The offensive line that needs to adjust so much with the new [offensive line] coach Dante Scarnecchia coming back [from retirement].”
While Bruschi may very well be right, the Patriots are too talented on offense for Garoppolo to struggle to the point where Brissett would have to come in. Assuming health, New England will have the best two-tight end combo in the NFL, one of the best slot receivers in the league and a running game that should be improved from the end of last season with the return of Dion Lewis.
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