Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis recruited Brissett to the University of Florida with an assist from QB Tom Brady, who called Brissett’s mother to vouch for Weis. Brissett then connected with Bill Parcells, the former mentor of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, as he transferred to North Carolina State.
Most assumed that Belichick and Parcells spoke about Brissett during the draft process, but that had not been confirmed until Parcells joined ESPN’s Tony Grossi for a radio appearance.
“I did speak with Bill about him [Brissett] late in the [draft] process last year,” Parcells explained. “I thought it [New England] would be a very, very good place for Jacoby because he’s highly motivated much like Brady, and he has the same kind of dedication and work habits. He just needed the proper direction and I thought he’d get it with Bill. Fortunately, he went up there and things so far have gone OK for him.”
Parcells spoke about a wide range of topics, from Belichick’s unprecedented success to Brady’s performance at an advanced age to Brissett’s potential in the NFL.
Parcells notes that Belichick’s had a perfect circumstance to contend on an annual basis, while also acknowledging that Belichick has a large part in setting up those circumstances. Belichick is responsible for the staff and the players, while the relationship with team owner Robert Kraft has allowed Belichick to make unorthodox decisions over the years. Parcells also thinks that Belichick’s experience gives him an edge over the competition.
“As time goes on, I think, it’s actually not harder [to compete],” Parcells explained. “It’s easier, because his experience is so much greater and he’s been through two or three cycles of players, so he can reference back to the kinds of players that have been successful for him before and try to integrate similar ones into the system for the future. That’s what all of us basically try to do. If a player doesn’t remind you of some other player that you had some success with, then there’s probably a good chance that that player isn’t going to be successful.”
Belichick is one of five coaches with 10 years in the same role, along with the Bengals’ Marvin Lewis, the Packers’ Mike McCarthy, the Saints’ Sean Payton, and the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin. Four other head coaches have more than 10 years of experience with various teams: Chiefs’ Andy Reid, Bears’ John Fox Raiders’ Jack Del Rio, Seahawks’ Pete Carroll.
Belichick is about to enter his 23rd season as an NFL head coach which will tie Dan Reeves and Chuck Noll for the 7th most in NFL history. He has been a head coach longer than the incoming rookie class has been alive. If Belichick can’t draw a player comparison for an incoming draft prospect, then that player must truly be unique.
Another Patriot that has been around for multiple football generations is QB Tom Brady, with whom Parcells isn’t familiar- but remains someone that Parcells has only heard positive things about. Parcells won’t touch the subject of Brady’s future.
“I don’t know Tom Brady,” Parcells admit. “I don’t ever recall being in his company. Obviously, he’s a very dedicated, highly motivated guy. But to comment on what his future is, I’ve never been around him so I don’t think my opinion would mean very much. I do know one of the other quarterbacks in New England, Jacoby Brissett, and he has nothing but good things to say about Tom and how he goes about the job and how Jacoby’s learned an awful lot from him. I don’t know. He seemingly is going to go on at least into next year and then we’ll see after that, I guess.”
Brady is under contract through 2019 and would be 43 years old if any additional years are added to his current deal. Brissett is a potential replacement for Brady, as have been Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett, and the second-year quarterback will also be a free agent after the 2019 season.
Despite mentoring Brissett over the years, Parcells preaches patience when evaluating Brissett’s future prospects in the NFL.
“I didn’t really think the system he was in in college was going to translate really well to the pros,” Parcells said. “I would have to see a little more game action, a little more preseason. I think he has attributes that are going to allow him to be successful. But you never know until you see him under fire, and you see him get beat up a little bit, things going bad and how they respond. I think he has a lot of the things necessary to be successful. But I think it’s a little early in the game now to know for sure if it’s going to translate completely."
Only time- and more experience in the preseason- will show if Brissett has what it takes to have a lengthy NFL career.