FOXBORO, Mass. — Jimmy Garoppolo’s struggles in New England Patriots training camp have been headline news this summer. But what should we make of Jacoby Brissett, who also has been far from flawless as he prepares for his second NFL season?
Brissett, New England’s third-string quarterback last year, has shown moderate improvement in Year 2 but still does not appear close to NFL-ready.
The Patriots were forced to completely revamp their offense during Brissett’s two spot starts last season, and the 24-year-old has shown little to make us believe that would change this season if he again was pressed into action.
That’s not to say Brissett has been awful this summer. He’s been fine. He’s even connected on a number of truly impressive deep-ball touchdowns, his rocket arm being by far his greatest strength. But overall, he still has a ways to go.
Just ask Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who gave a less-than-inspiring review of Brissett’s development before Tuesday’s joint practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It’s a work in progress,” Belichick said. “We’ll see. We’re a little over a week into training camp — 10, 11 practices — so we’ve got a long way to go. We’ll see.”
Brissett saw limited reps during New England’s two practices with Jacksonville. Tom Brady and Garoppolo took the lion’s share of snaps during 11-on-11 drills, with Brissett taking the field for just a few minutes at the end of each session. He completed 7 of 14 passes over the two days with two interceptions.
Which brings us to the question of whether Brissett will be guaranteed a spot on this year’s Patriots team. On one hand, the Pats rarely carry three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster — last season was just the second time they’d done so since 1999 — and leaving off a player in Brissett who probably won’t help them this season would open up a spot for one who could.
Of course, the Patriots discovered firsthand last year the importance of depth under center. And the combination of Brady’s age (40 as of last week) and Garoppolo’s contract status (his rookie deal expires after this season) makes keeping Brissett around an enticing option simply from an insurance standpoint.
We’ll learn more about how far along Brissett is once we see how he fares in the preseason, the first game of which is set for Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. In all likelihood, the 2016 third-round pick still will be on the team by the time Week 1 rolls around. But we wouldn’t consider him a stone-cold roster lock.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images