FOXBORO -- In the amount of time it took for Kiko Alonso to body-slam Jimmy Garoppolo, the world as the Patriots knew it was transformed for the second time in as many weeks.
The first sea change came when Tom Brady began serving his suspension and was banned from the facility, reducing the Patriots quarterback meeting room to just two capable bodies. The second came on Sunday, after Garoppolo was knocked from Sunday's 31-24 win with a shoulder injury, forcing rookie third-round pick Jacoby Brissett to see his first action as a pro.
It's a hard-to-fathom scenario given what the Patriots went through this offseason.
To say that is was an usual summer for the Patriots and their quarterbacks would be putting it mildly. They had one who needed as much work as possible before he was cast off for a month. They had another who they felt needed to be the priority in practices in order to get him ready to start for the first time. They had a third who needed to be ready at a moment's notice in case of emergency.
For each to be fully and totally prepared for their respective situations, realistically, there simply wasn't enough snaps to go around.
The one benefit the Patriots had was that they knew what lay ahead. They knew Garoppolo needed work with the presumptive starters so that when the season rolled around there would be a certain level of chemistry established between him, his protection and his weapons. So they worked at it. They poured time into it.
Then when Garoppolo went shoulder-first into the turf, the rug was seemingly ripped out from under them. Those hours of work, the toiling behind the scenes and on the practice field to get Garoppolo prepared, was trivialized.
After the game, when receiver Julian Edelman was asked if it was frustrating to prepare so intensely for one situation and then get another, he provided a window into how those moments are handled within the Gillette Stadium walls.
"You know what? It's always frustrating to lose any player at any position. Unfortunately that's part of this game, but you're programmed as a football player, and as a professional football player, that if something like this happens, you have to have a short memory," he explained.
"You can't dwell on it because you still gotta go out and try to win a game so, you know, that's how you deal with that. It's terrible. It's unfortunate. Jimmy was playing his tail off, and I hope he's all right. I don't know what's going on. But Jacoby came in, he handled it like a pro. He was poised in the huddle, and it was good to go out there and get a good team win in a divisional game."
Edelman was one of the many Patriots skill position players whose time in training camp was split between practicing with Brady and Garoppolo. Tight end Martellus Bennett saw somewhat of a similar quarterback split, as did wideout Chris Hogan and running backs LeGarrette Blount and James White. For them, reps with Brissett were limited.
As the No. 3 during training camp, many of the players Brissett threw to in July and August are no longer on the active roster.
It had to have been odd, seeing Brissett's face in the huddle and seeing his passes firing out from behind the line of scrimmage in a game situation. Odd or not, Edelman explained, the mentality is the same.
Somehow, even if the offense is forced to change, even if the attack is simplified, you try to make it work.
"Any time something like that happens, you can't really think about how odd it is," said Edelman, who was the target of Brissett's first two passes of the game, both of which fell incomplete. "You just have to go out and try to make things go . . . He's young so you can't really . . . You gotta like let him feel his own groove and get comfortable so you can't do too much, and he handled it well.
"Jacoby came in and he called the plays and he made the great 'Mike' [linebacker] points, and he made plays when he had to . . . He went out and did what he's comfortable doing. Those are big plays. I'm proud of him, and I look forward to working this week hard with him."
For the Patriots and their quarterback position, change is here again. This time it came unannounced.