The New England Patriots have placed rookie QB Jacoby Brissett on the injured reserve today, but that doesn’t mean his season is over.
The NFL changed the rules of the injured reserve this offseason so teams no longer have to designate the player to return upon placing them on the injured reserve. Instead, teams are eligible to activate any one from the injured reserve after they have spent at least six weeks on the list. They will then have two weeks before they can play.
So the Patriots could theoretically activate Brissett from the injured reserve after the week 10 game against the Seahawks and Brissett could take the field in week 13 against the Rams.
The Patriots will move forward with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo as the two quarterbacks on the active roster, while Brissett will get to function as a break-in-case-of-emergency quarterback if Brady or Garoppolo suffers an injury down the final stretch.
There is still a chance that a different player with a larger role than Brissett will be injured and place on the injured reserve, so the Patriots will hold off on activating Brissett until they absolutely need to.
While we’re on the topic of injuries, let’s break down the current players on the Patriots injured reserve (IR) and physically unable to perform (PUP) list and when they can return.
TE Michael Williams: IR, torn ACL. He won’t be coming back this season, but he could theoretically return as early as week 7 and could play after the bye week against the Seahawks in week 10.
OG Tre Jackson: PUP, knee. Jackson has a long history of knee injuries, but he could return to practice in week 7 and as late as week 12. The Patriots have three weeks after a player returns to practice before activating them to the active roster. If the Patriots choose not to activate Jackson during this window, then he will go to the IR. The Patriots have a full depth chart at guard with Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, and Ted Karras.
OT Sebastian Vollmer: PUP, hip, shoulder. Vollmer is dealing with a long list of injuries and isn’t expected to return this year. He, like Jackson, can return at any time between week 7 and 12. Vollmer would be a nice addition down the stretch if Marcus Cannon does not improve.
RB Dion Lewis: PUP, knee. Lewis has been spotted in the locker room, so perhaps he could follow the Brandon LaFell route and be active in week 7 against the Steelers. Like Jackson and Vollmer, the Patriots can bring Lewis back between week 7 and 12, with another three weeks of practice before having to make a decision.