Bill Belichick, Patriots Facing Quarterback Conundrum In Preseason Finale

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NFL teams typically play their starting quarterback sparingly, if at all, in their final game of the preseason. But the New England Patriots’ current quarterback situation is anything but typical.

With Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of the regular season, Jimmy Garoppolo taking a step back in preseason game No. 3 and Jacoby Brissett still practically brand new to the NFL scene, it remains unclear how Patriots coach Bill Belichick will divvy up the quarterback reps when his team closes out its exhibition slate Thursday night against the New York Giants.

Belichick ran through the pros and cons of each option Saturday in a conference call with reporters.

“I think that’s a good question,” Belichick said. “It’s a fair question. It’s one that we have to give some good consideration to. As I’ve said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy ready to play for the Arizona game (in Week 1). Tom isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby certainly could use all the playing time that he can get.

“So, I think that whichever players we play, they’ll benefit from it. It will be valuable. If we could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week, they’d all benefit from that. It would all be good. But we can’t. We only have one game, and we only have so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game and some situations that are somewhat controllable in the game, like a two-minute situation or things like that … (determine) how you want that broken down.

“What does each guy need? How can we do the best we can for each guy to make sure they get the reps that they need? But how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for? And they all need to be ready for different things. What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is and a lot different from what Jacoby’s is. And at some point later on, then those roles are going to change again.

“So again, there’s no real perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well-prepared as possible for whatever point that is we have to deal with and whenever it is that those situations come up. That’s the best way I can answer that.”

Thursday’s 19-17 win over the Carolina Panthers was Garoppolo’s worst game of the preseason, Brady’s first and Brissett’s best. The third-round draft pick completed all nine passes he attempted and connected with DeAndre Carter on the first touchdown pass of his young career.

?I think Jacoby continues to do some really good things,” Belichick said Saturday. “His passing stats (Friday) night were good, which is always a good thing. 9-for-9, no turnovers — that?s a good place to start. There are a number of things he could have done better, like every player that played, so he?s certainly learning and getting better at things every week. But there are new things that happen every week — new situations, different plays match up against different defenses. So, it?s a process.”

Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images

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