Life comes at you pretty fast. The Patriots found out the hard way when Tom Brady's backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, suffered a sprained AC joint against the Dolphins on Sunday, forcing third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett under center.
So who exactly is this guy? Glad you asked. Let's meet Jacoby Brissett, the guy who will probably be replacing Tom Brady's replacement for at least one week.
Where did he come from?
Brissett's a Florida guy, born in West Palm Beach in 1992. He was one of the country's top recruits at quarterback coming out of high school and it was probably a no-brainer decision to attend school at the University of Florida. Great college, great program, close to home. It wasn't a decision without controversy, however, as his mom wasn't thrilled with the way Will Muschamp handled the recruiting process (the Urban Meyer-Muschamp transition occurred while Brissett was in high school).
She probably didn't love how he handled the offensive management either, with Brissett getting benched for Jeff Driskell in his sophomore season. Brissett would transfer schools, jumping on board with Dave Doeren at NC State and sitting out a year.
Brissett took over the reins as starting quarterback for the Wolfpack in 2014 and immediately showed flashes of a potential program-changing quarterback. He's considered a "dual-threat quarterback" but Brissett is stronger than he is fast.
Brissett never produced monster counting stats while at NC State, but he was largely efficient. Part of the problem with his production can be chalked up to a lack of vertical threats: The Wolfpack simply didn't have (and still don't have) guys who can stretch the field. Brissett can sometimes throw a nice deep ball, but he was forced to operate in a horizontal offense much of the time. His accuracy down the field in Raleigh wasn't what you wanted to see out of a future NFL starter.
That's interesting too, because the Patriots thrive on a quick-passing game. In terms of having a rookie you need to step in and do some work, this is a pretty nice marriage of player and offense.
What did people say coming into the NFL?
There wasn't the sort of Jared Goff-Carson Wentz hype around Brissett heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. But people liked Brissett as a possible project quarterback with the sort of physical makeup that could molded into a future NFL starter.
Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout called Brissett " built for the NFL with a filled-out frame."
Brissett is well-built with physical traits for the next level with his size, mobility and arm talent. He can make NFL throws, but is also slow to read and showed gun shy tendencies as a downfield thrower -- was the king of dink and dunk and check downs inflated his completion percentage.
Brissett should improve with NFL coaching and has the intangibles and enough talent to carve out a back-up role, but tough to see him becoming a starter down the road due to his inconsistencies as a downfield passer.
Brissett's build (6-foot-4, 235), strong arm, and ability to pick up first downs with his feet will intrigue teams looking for a potential starter in a draft lacking great talent at the position.
Zeirlein pointed out there could be a reasonable comparison to Jameis Winston based on size, strength and arm, but the difference is a very wide gap between the two players. He is, though, a "big quarterback with an NFL arm."
After Brissett was taken by the Pats, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah described him as a smart decision maker.
"He's got great size," Jeremiah said at the time. "He looks like a quarterback that can handle that cold weather, he's got big hands. He's a very good decision maker, not many turnovers at all. He'll give Jimmy Garoppolo a little competition now."
Brissett might be the most sneaky athletic guy we've seen in a while. He didn't test particularly well at the combine (4.9-second 40-yard dash).
What will we see from him?
Brissett got seven total possessions during the Dolphins-Patriots game Sunday, including a final one where he took a knee on the first play. So in six "real" possessions, Brissett totaled nine passing attempts and six completions, for 92 yards.
To say the Patriots will be conservative with him when he plays is to say the Patriots will be secretive with their injury report. It's going to happen.
There is going to be a heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount while Brissett is under center. Doing it any other way would be foolish. The longest play of of the day for Brissett was a 38-yard completion to Martellus Bennett, a well-designed play-action pass that had Bennett crossing underneath after the Pats got everyone on Miami's defense to flow to the right side of their line.
Bennett released, was wide open and had tons of yardage in front of him when he caught the ball. Easy, confidence-building throw that's built off the power-run game.
Another nice concept offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels dialed up was a double screen fake to Bennett. Brissett faked the screen to James White, spun around and flipped the ball to Bennett on the other side. It's not going to be a home-run play because of Bennett's size/speed, but it got the Miami defense flowing in White's direction and opened up a chunk of the field for Bennett to plow through.
Another high-percentage throw with minimal downside.
This was not unusual for this game. The Patriots purposely put Brissett in high-percentage situations against the Dolphins and you can expect them to do the same against the Texans on Thursday night.
How about some fun facts?
Sure, fun facts are, uh, fun. Here are three:
1) Brissett is playing with an old teammate: Joe Thuney, also drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Pats (78th overall, Brissett was 91st), is the starting left guard for New England. Thuney came out of NC State's program as well, so he spent the past two years working with Brissett. In terms of communicating with offensive lineman, staying on the same page and having a conduit to that unit, you can't get much better than someone you've known and played with for years.
2) Brissett and Belichick have the same mentor: Belichick grew up in the Bill Parcells coaching tree, serving as the defensive coordinator for Parcells' Giants teams that won a pair of Super Bowls. Brissett grew up as a buddy of Parcells in Florida, where he kind of came up under the legendary coach's wing as a young player. Parcells described Brissett as a "Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown type of player" after the Pats took him. Bonus: Brissett worked with Charlie Weis, Belichick's old offensive coordinator, for one season in Florida.
3) Brissett never hired an agent: How many people do you see enter the NFL Draft and not go with an agent? The contract negotiation isn't a problem, but getting your name out there is easier when you have representation. Brissett was hardly mentioned in the process and still went in the third round. He probably saved himself about $100,000 with the decision. You have to feel like Belichick respects that, right? It was the most efficient move.