Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO -- If you were hoping for Jacoby Brissett to make a strong case at the start of training camp that he, not Jimmy Garoppolo, is the quarterback in waiting, sorry to disappoint. Brissett’s camp has been more uneven than fourth-year man Garoppolo's . . . and as we’ve detailed with number 10, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for him, either.

How does Brissett feel he’s performed to this point?

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"I don't do evaluations. You have to ask [coach Bill Belichick] that,” he said following Wednesday’s lengthy walkthrough with the Jaguars. 

Well, we did do that, Jacoby. But unlike his radio appearance on SiriusXM last week, when Belichick called Brissett’s situation both “unique” and “interesting,” this time the coach wasn’t exactly expansive.

"Well, it’s a work in progress,” he said. “We’ll see. We’re a little over a week into training camp -- 10, 11 practices -- so we’ve got a long way to go. We’ll see.”

What we’ve seen so far is a second-year quarterback showing some signs of improvement: Brissett now is willing to try and put the ball into tighter windows, and clearly has a better grasp of the system. However, the former North Carolina State standout still has a long delivery, a penchant for staring down his target and a reluctance to come off that target, a lack of touch and a propensity to deliver many of his throws high, sometimes endangering support staff and fans with his 107 mile-per-hour fastball.  

 

“Being in the NFL is a challenge,” said Brissett. “Every day, you’re going against the best in the world.”

Brissett did rise up to the challenge last year when thrown into the fire, subbing for the injured Garoppolo midway through the Dolphins game in Week 2, then holding down the fort in Week 3 versus the Texans before being exposed in his final outing of the year against the Bills. His stint on injured reserve following that game certainly “took the wind out of the sails” as Belichick noted on Sirius, but Brissett insists the mental gymnastics he subjected himself to were -- like they are now -- critical to his growth.

“The most important part is the reps I don’t get,” he said. “The times I get to sit down and watch and learn from those guys, so I think [being] able to sit back and watch helped me a lot.”

Brissett believes it was those reps, even when he “didn’t know what I was doing,” that helped him prepare for what life is like now, when there are many days where the young signal caller doesn’t get much work in 11-on-11 situations until sometimes right at the very end of practice.

“It’s just like a game,” he said when I asked him. “It’s like the Dolphins game. I wasn’t playing the whole game then unfortunately the injury happened to Jimmy so you get thrown into the fire so you just gotta be ready to go whenever the time comes.”

He wasn’t all that ready at the end of Tuesday’s joint practice with the Jags, leading to an amusing scenario in which the entire group he was working with had to do pushups. Even Belichick joined in.

“I was impressed he did ‘em,” smiled Brissett. When he was asked if he had an idea of how many pushups Belichick could muster, Brissett did the smartest thing he could do: “I don’t want to say the wrong number to offend him so I’m gonna leave that for him. He can tell you how many.”

Then he was off, with a smile, presumably to get as many mental reps as possible and, hopefully, improve.