In today’s post, we’ll analyze the Patriots QB reps. It’s an interesting topic considering that the Pats have three quarterbacks who need work even if it’s at different levels and with various priorities. As we know, Bill Belichick’s main goal is to get Jimmy Garoppolo reps this preseason. Given that he’ll be the Patriots starting quarterback in the first four weeks, this makes perfect sense. He needs to work with the starting offensive line and some of the receivers who are available. In addition, Jacoby Brissett needs reps. He’s going to be the backup and if anything were to happen to Garoppolo, the Patriots could be putting themselves in a tough position if a rookie quarterback is going to be relied on in regular season games. Therefore, he needs work. What about Tom Brady? He typically doesn’t play a lot in the preseason anyways, but this year obviously is different. He’s going to be away from the team for a full month. How much is the team going to focus on him in the remaining preseason games?
For starters, the Patriots aren’t going to have their full team ready for these games. It’s unlikely we’ll see Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman playing any significant minutes this preseason, if at all. It would have been nice to see Garoppolo build a connection with his top two targets before the season started, but health is the priority. For obvious reasons, this is not a concern with Brady. He doesn’t need to play in the preseason with Edelman and Gronk specifically. This is more about getting Garoppolo and Brissett some work against legitimate NFL talent. They need to get a feel for the game in live scenarios. In Brissett’s case, he also needs to learn the Patriots offense. Garoppolo has been here for two years. For him, it’s just a matter of executing what he has learned the past two years. In two months, we’ll be able to answer the question that everyone has been asking for two years. Can this guy play?
Does Brady play at all this preseason? The thought here is that he does, but in a very limited manner. It’s doubtful that he’ll play in the second preseason game against the Bears. In the third preseason game, the starting quarterback usually plays into the third quarter. In this case, it will likely be Garoppolo considering he will be starting his first NFL game just two weeks later. It’s unlikely that the Patriots would put Brady in with a third string line in any of these games and risk injury or a cheap shot from a defensive player trying to make a roster and make a name for himself. It’s just not worth it for the Patriots.
If there’s a game for Brady to play it’s probably the fourth game. Why? He’s not going to come in as a backup in a game. Yeah, it would be a nice story, but it isn’t happening. Garoppolo needs the work against the elite talent which will come in preseason weeks 2 and 3. Garoppolo may sit game 4 to get rested for the first game. If the Patriots give Brady a quarter or two there, he gets work against some good talent and it gives him a taste of live football before his suspension. It also give Brissett the opportunity to play the majority of that game and get some work in.
We’ll see how this all plays out. The Patriots usually have two quarterbacks they focus on in the preseason. This year, it’s three. Depending on Brissett’s play, don’t be surprised if there’s a fourth QB by the end of this preseason.