EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- It hasn't always been spelled out to Jacoby Brissett exactly why the Patriots want him to travel to away games while on injured reserve, but there are plenty of obvious benefits.
Though he's not receiving on-the-field experience when on the road, Brissett sees how the entire operation is run in a foreign environment. He can also watch in real time how adjustments are made and game plans are altered away from home.
Brissett traveled to New Jersey with the team this weekend in order to continue that educational experience, and before Sunday's game with the Jets, he got an extensive throwing workout in. His thumb injury has progressed to the point that he is able to toss it around without issue, and the Patriots may want him to stay sharp in that regard.
Brissett is eligible to come off of injured reserve and be activated next week, as Friday will mark eight weeks since he's been placed on IR. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, the team plans to designate him as their one player to return off of injured reserve this season.
A rule-change was implemented this year in that teams no longer have to designate who they'll bring back off of IR as soon as that particular player is placed on IR. Instead, teams can evaluate all players on IR and then activate one as long as he has spent eight weeks on the injured reserve list.
The Patriots have been relatively fortunate in that they do not have many candidates to bring back. Tight end Michael Williams tore his ACL in training camp. Jonathan Freeny is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered earlier this season. And tight end Greg Scruggs barely had time to make an impact on the active roster before he suffered a knee issue that sent him to IR.
Brissett, then, makes the most sense as the team's lone returnee. Not only will he be able to continue his development in his first year while active, but as Volin noted, he may be able to give Tom Brady (or Jimmy Garoppolo) a bit of a breather in Patriots practices down the stretch.