FOXBORO, Mass. — Jacoby Brissett is a realistic guy. He knows full well he is entering his second NFL season as the low man on the New England Patriots’ quarterback totem pole behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I mean, that’s kind of obvious,” Brissett said Tuesday after Day 1 of mandatory minicamp. “(Garoppolo) has been here four years. I’ve been here two years. Tom’s been here 18. There’s definitely a gap, but it’s no excuse.”
No excuse for giving anything less than 100 percent effort, he means. Though it’ll likely take another cocktail of injuries and/or suspensions for him to see the field this season, Brissett is determined to close the still-sizable gap between himself and the two QBs above him.
“Most definitely,” the 24-year-old said. “That’s what makes our competition so healthy and so real. Everyone’s competing with each other. Even Tom, who’s been here longer than us, he’s competing against us. We’re competing against him, and Jimmy and I are competing against each other. It’s just fun to be in that room.”
Had this spring played out differently, Brissett might have entered offseason workouts as New England’s No. 2 signal-caller. Garoppolo’s name constantly was mentioned in trade rumors ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft, with several teams reportedly trying to pry perhaps the NFL’s best backup QB out of coach Bill Belichick’s grasp.
Ultimately, the Patriots chose not to move Garoppolo, keeping their three-quarterback depth chart intact for at least another summer. Asked for his take on the situation, Brissett said he tuned out the rumor mill and focused only on improving his own game.
“I think I’m working my tail off to get better each day,” Brissett said. “I hope I’m out here getting better. I’m working my tail off to do that. I’ve been given the opportunity to go out there and have the opportunity to get better, so I’m just trying to make the most of that opportunity.”
This offseason will be critical in Brissett’s development as an NFL quarterback. Belichick often has spoken about the leaps forward players can take in their second pro season — a point he reiterated Tuesday in his pre-practice news conference.
“Like Bill said, Year 2 is one of the biggest years for a jump in the development of a player, so I think that’s the main focus,” Brissett said. “With a year under my belt in the offense, just constantly getting better at that, learning that and taking ownership of my mistakes now. My first year, I didn’t really know what my mistakes were. But now (it’s about) understanding what they are and correcting them so they don’t happen again. …
“I didn’t know what I was doing (last summer). Hopefully, I do now.”
Brissett appeared in three games as a rookie, completing 34 of 55 passes for 400 yards and carrying the ball 16 times for 83 yards and one touchdown.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images