BOSTON — If Jacoby Brissett were originally drafted by any of the 31 other teams not based in New England, would his professional life have been quieter, less stressful, accompanied by fewer comparisons and “what ifs?”
Would his professional life have been better? Doubtful.
The Patriot DNA Brissett possesses means the Colts starting quarterback — and Jimmy Garoppolo — will never shake the measuring stick that is Tom Brady nor the belief that their tutelage in the most evolved offensive system in the league under the best coach gave them a leg up.
When I ran into Brissett Monday at Logan Airport I asked him whether being a Patriot for 17 months was a blessing or a curse.
“It’s a mixture of both,” he said. “Everybody sees the finished product Tom (Brady) but Tom wasn’t what he is in 2018 or 2019 back in 2002. That’s what makes it fun for me and for Jimmy too. People have these expectations for you and once you don’t reach them, it’s like, ‘Awww, you suck.’
“But at the end of the day, one of the best things I learned from Tom was him saying during our struggles that, ‘I didn’t get where I am just like that (snaps fingers). I struggled. I had my ups and downs.’ ”
Brady’s got 15 years on the 27-year-old Brissett. When the team drafted Brissett in the third round of the 2016 draft, he became the latest in a long line of clipboard-holders who’ve backed Brady up since 2002.
What was their relationship like?
“Mentor, brother, friend,” said Brissett. “Tom encompasses so much because he’s the type of guy where he’s gonna cover all the bases. He’s gonna be the big brother at times, he’s gonna be the friend, he’s gonna be the mentor, he’s gonna be the coach, he’s gonna do all of these things just because of his personality.
“He was hard on us, no question,” Brissett revealed. “It was the standard people had for us because we played behind Tom but it was more so you didn’t care about that standard, you cared about what Tom thought about you.
“You cared about Tom’s standard,” said Brissett. “I’ll never forget some of the things he would say. If he saw me relaxing, he’d say, ‘You play quarterback, you can’t do that.’ For the most part, he kept us on our toes. He played those mind games with us.
“One day he’d love us up and another day he’ll be pissed and take it out on us. His expectations were way more something you were trying to uphold than what anybody else put on you. To be a part of it and to have Tom as a resource and creating so many friendships outside of Tom was invaluable.”
Brissett, like the rest of the football-watching world, has a hard time envisioning Brady not playing in New England.
“I think it would be weird to everyone, including Tom,” he said. “That’s an interesting situation right now, but I would say whatever he wants to do and whatever he does, that will be a thought-out decision and literally the right decision for him. Tom will make whatever work, he always has.”