We have entered the deepest depths of the NFL offseason. Free agency and the draft are behind us, while minicamp and training camp won't start until early June and late July, respectively. However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop.
After all, until the late-August's roster cuts, players need to have secured their spots on the team. Over the course of the next few months, we will take a look at the men fighting for them on the 2017 New England Patriots. 53 of currently 89 players will be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title.
Today, we’ll continue the series with the Patriots’ third string quarterback.
Name: Jacoby Brissett
Jersey number: 7
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6'4, 235 lbs.
2016 review: The Patriots, four days after the reinstatement of Tom Brady's four-game suspension, drafted N.C. State quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the third round (pick #91). With Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of him on the depth chart, though, the rookie was not expected to see much, if any, playing time – he was an emergency option and opening day confirmed this notion.
However, when Garoppolo went down in the late second quarter of the Patriots' week two matchup against the Miami Dolphins, Brissett was forced into action. Ahead 21-0, the rookie was not asked to do much. He finished his first career game completing 6 of 9 pass attempts for 92 yards, while New England won 31-24.
Brissett started the next two contests, playing in a run-first offense tailor-made for his skill-set and experience. While not all was perfect as both his strenghts and limitations were on display, the rookie still had a relatively successful first two career starts considering the circumstances. The team went 1-1 with Brissett, who played through a thumb injury on his throwing hand, as the starter.
Overall, he finished the year with three in-game appearances, going 34 of 55 (61.8%) for 400 yards. Brissett also added 16 rushing attempts for 83 yards (5.2 yards/carry) as well as one touchdown and a lost fumble. Once Brady returned from his suspension, the rookie was relegated to third-stringer again and was a game-day inactive for the rest of the season.
2017 preview: Brissett's role on the 2017 Patriots is closely tied to Jimmy Garoppolo and whether or not he will be traded. Since the team's primary backup quarterback remains on the roster after both the initial waves of free agency and the draft have passed, Brissett is projected to enter the season as the number three option at the position.
Of course, a lot can change over the next few months – even until the trade-deadline in November – but if recent reports are any indication, Garoppolo will not be traded. In turn, Brissett's 2017 season is projected to look similar to his 2016 rookie campaign: He is an emergency option, whose playing time will likely be limited to the preseason.