The New England Patriots will tweak their offensive game plan if rookie Jacoby Brissett, not Jimmy Garoppolo, must start under center Thursday night against the Houston Texans. But they won’t overhaul it.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters Monday, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said the team will stick to the same formula regardless of which quarterback gets the nod against Houston.
“We always try to do what’s right for the week,” McDaniels said. “There’s a lot of variables that go into that, and certainly we consider all positions. If we have some situation where we’re missing somebody on the offensive line or at a receiver position, tight end, quarterback, running back — we consider all those variables as we prepare our plan for the opponent that we’re playing. And then (we) have to consider the opponent considerably and the problems that they present and try to come up with the right plan for the week.
“Our formula won’t change. We’ll just try to figure out exactly what it is that we feel best about based on the circumstances that we’ll have ultimately for the game and try to go out there and play our best on Thursday night.”
Garoppolo injured his shoulder during Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins and missed the rest of the game. Reports on the severity of his injury have varied — one from ESPN’s Adam Schefter even indicated he could be ready to play Thursday — and McDaniels was tight-lipped when asked if the Patriots are considering signing an extra QB this week.
McDaniels did say teams very rarely enter a game with only one healthy signal-caller.
“I’m not exactly sure,” he said. “We’ll find out more as the day goes on about that whole situation. There’s been a few situations I’ve been around where you’ve had one guy more healthy than another. You go to the game, and you’re hoping that the percentages are on your side. But generally, that’s not the case. Certainly, you usually go to the game with multiple guys that could go in and play at that position.”
Brissett relieved the injured Garoppolo late in the second quarter Sunday and played the rest of the way, completing 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards while guiding a simplified, run-heavy offense. Many teammates and coaches, including McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick, remarked on the “poise” the 23-year-old displayed in his NFL debut.
“A lot of positives,” McDaniels said. “Jacoby is a rookie that doesn’t have any game experience, and yet when he went into the game, I think he had good poise and composure. He managed the situation well initially. And then we had an opportunity to talk at halftime about some things that we wanted to do in the second half, and I thought he took advantage of his opportunities.
“Like every quarterback who’s a young player, you’re going to learn things as you play and perform in regular-season games that you’ve never had an opportunity to experience. We’re hoping that not only Jacoby, but a lot of our young players that played for the first time or second time (Sunday) have an opportunity to really grow from that experience and improve and get better and make a lot of strides.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images