The New England Patriots love what their 2016 third round draft pick Jacoby Brissett brings to the table. He is a smart player and has shown an ability to adapt to the Patriots’ system. Furthermore, when he was asked to step in for Jimmy Garoppolo (who himself stepped in for Tom Brady), he delivered a solid performance while playing through a thumb injury.
The injury led to the rookie being placed on injured reserve on October 7th but he still traveled with the team and was regularly spotted around the facility and – as a non-participant – on the practice fields. Now, it seems that Brissett will return to partake in practice; at least according to Ben Volin:
I'm told Jacoby Brissett (thumb) is returning to practice today off IR-Return. Patriots have 21 days until they have to put him on the 53
Given the state of the other players on injured reserve, Brissett was the number one candidate to get activated – which shows how highly the team thinks of him. Now, it seems that the Patriots have officially made their choice to make the rookie their player designated to return off injured reserve.
As Volin noted, the Patriots have 21 days to actually put him on their 53-man roster once he starts practicing. This means that by December 21st – three days prior to the Patriots’ second game against the New York Jets – the team will have to create an open spot on its active roster. If that is what the team actually wants to happen.
It is possible and within the rules for New England to simply designate Brissett their return-player for him to get three weeks worth of practice time. After that, if he does not get activated, he would simply stay on injured reserve with the team having lost its chance to bring back a player from the list.
Considering that the team is deep at the quarterback position with Brady and Garoppolo, it would not be a surprise to see the team take this course of action. After all, Brissett is expected to take over Garoppolo’s spot as Tom Brady’s backup next year. Additional practice and the experience that goes along with it would therefore be welcome – even if that means that Brissett’s rookie season officially ends in three weeks.