FOXBORO -- Back on Sept. 8, Bill Belichick was asked what his plan would be if for some reason the Patriots needed a third quarterback during Tom Brady's suspension.
"Yeah," Belichick said, "well we have our plans for that."
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Pressed on the issue again, Belichick replied, "We have plans. Look, we have to back up every position nso we have plans to back them all up."
At the time, the Patriots didn't need a third quarterback. Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett were healthy? Now that Garoppolo has been forced from Sunday's game with a shoulder injury, the third-quarterback question is an important one.
Brissett will be the one who takes his place behind center for the remainder of New England's Week 2 matchup with the Dolphins, but what would the Patriots do if the rookie third-rounder had to miss any time?
The logical answer would be that the team would turn to another collegiate quarterback on its roster: receiver Julian Edelman, who was the signal-caller at Kent State before being drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.
Edelman threw for 4,997 yards, 30 touchdowns and 31 interceptions in three seasons at Kent State. As a dual-threat quarterback, he also ran for 2,483 yards and a 4.9 yards-per-carry average.
In the Divisional Round of the playoffs following the 2014 regular season, Edelman completed his only professional passing attempt: a 51-yard touchdown to Danny Amendola to help them beat the Ravens and advance to the AFC title game.
The Patriots have another former collegiate college quarterback on the roster in tight end AJ Derby, who played the position at Iowa and Arkansas before transitioning to tight end. Derby is inactive for Sunday's game with the Dolphins, however, making him unavailable.
The Patriots do not have a quarterback on their practice squad and would likely mine the list of current free agents for a capable player at that spot should Garoppolo be forced to miss the final two weeks of Brady's suspension due to injury.