Patriots’ Uncertain QB Situation Means Extra Prep For Rex Ryan, Bills

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Rex Ryan believes he knows whom the New England Patriots will start at quarterback Sunday against his Buffalo Bills. But in all likelihood, the Patriots won’t make that announcement until shortly before game time.

That means Ryan and his team must spend the week preparing for two different Patriots offenses: one led by Jimmy Garoppolo, and another piloted by the less polished but more mobile Jacoby Brissett.

Garoppolo is recovering from a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, while Brissett, who made his first NFL start Thursday against the Houston Texans, is dealing with a thumb injury.

“We’re going to try to cover all bases,” Bills defensive end Kyle Williams said Wednesday in a conference call. “We’re going to try to be prepared for everything, that way when you get anything, you’re not shocked. You’re not surprised. We know that’s something that’s going to be played close to the vest, as it should be. We’ll get ready, and we’ll be ready for whatever gets thrown at us.”

While the Patriots reportedly expect to have either Garoppolo or Brissett under center Sunday, they also have a third option: wide receiver Julian Edelman. He hasn’t played quarterback since college and has thrown only one pass in his NFL career, but his mere presence on the Patriots’ roster forces opponents to make additional preparations.

“There are a lot of direct snaps in the league, and there’s different things like that, so you can treat it that way,” said Bills coach Rex Ryan, who jokingly posed the quarterback question to Edelman on Wednesday during a conference call with Buffalo reporters. “And he was a college quarterback, so it’s not that unusual. He did play college quarterback. You’re going to prepare, but you’re not going to spend your whole practice time on a ‘What if?,’ but each week, you have to be prepared for that.”

Williams responded similarly to a question about Edelman’s quarterbacking ability, saying the Bills will be prepared for any wrinkles the Patriots throw their way.

“I think the main thing about him is he’s a great athlete, and he’s an even better competitor,” Williams said. “So you don’t rule anything out with him. Obviously, I don’t think that they’re going to, if he had to play quarterback, go out and go five-wide and let him wheel and deal. But you never know.

“We’ll be prepared for anything. There may be some things we think we may see depending on who the quarterback may be, but we’ll be ready for whoever takes snaps back their on Sunday.”

Edelman did not attempt a pass or take a snap during Thursday’s 27-0 win over the Texans.

Garoppolo and Brissett both were listed as limited participants in Wednesday’s Patriots practice.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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