Say this for Jacoby Brissett: He didn't look overwhelmed by the moment.
The rookie third-round pick fumbled once, he was sacked twice, and he was asked to throw only nine passes in 34 minutes as Jimmy Garoppolo's substitute at quarterback. But by and large, Brissett's coaches were impressed by the poise with which he carried himself.
"I think he's done a good job of that all through preseason and some of the practice opportunities with us and with the Bears and the Saints," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on a conference call Monday. "Good poise, good decision-making under pressure. I think pressure . . . Having people around him -- I'm not just talking about all-out blitzes -- but just having people in the pocket around him, having people out in space that are closing in on him to throw to run, whatever the situaion may bear, he's had a lot of opportunities to do that since he's been here. I think he's done a pretty good job of that."
Brissett scrambled twice in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Dolphins, and in both instances he was able to slide for first downs before taking any hits. On one of those scrambles, Brissett coolly carried out a play fake to running back LeGarrette Blount, eluded Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams and turned up the field for a 10-yard gain.
"Lot of positives," said offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. "He was a rookie that doesn't have any game experience, yet when he went into the game, I think he had good poise and composure and managed the situation well initially. And then he had an opportunity to talk at halftime about some things we wanted to do in the second half. I thought he took advantage of his opportunities. Like every quarterback as a young player, you're going to learn things as you play and perform in regular-season games that you've never had the opportunity to experience.
"I'm hoping that not only Jacoby but a lot of our young players that played for the first time or second time have an opportunity to really grow from that experience and improve and get better and make a lot of strides because I think that's something that you can really use, those game experiences, to make the most progress. There's a lot that can be taught, you know, in practice and OTAs and those types of thigns. You have an opportunity to go out and try to execute on Sunday against another good opponent with really good players and a tough scheme, and I think it only accelerates the learning process if you can take those lessons and then make progress on them each week."
One of the strongest aspects of Brissett's game coming out of North Carolina State was his ability to take care of the football. He boasted a 45-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio by the time his collegiate career was up. If he's the choice to play behind center on Thursday night, the Patriots coaching staff will hope that he continues to show the poise and good decision-making that he's exhibited since even before he was drafted.
"Jacoby is really a calm individual," McDaniels told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday morning. "He’s been that way since we brought him in for his interview and we tried to put him under pressure when we first brought him in here before the draft, and he didn’t flinch then. He’s a guy that is very difficult to fluster.
"He’s young, he doesn’t have much experience obviously, and he’s learning every week and every day. But I thought his poise and composure yesterday showed. I didn't feel like he was rattled on the sideline when it was his opportunity to get in there. I felt like he handled the huddle, the line of scrimmage and some critical situations well."