HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – It’s looking more and more like the Texans will be facing the Patriots third string quarterback Thursday night in Foxboro Massachusetts. Jimmy Garoppolo – substituting for suspended Tom Brady – injured his right shoulder in the second quarter of New England’s 31 – 24 victory over Miami Sunday. In his stead stepped rookie Jacoby Brissett.
The Patriots didn’t ask Brissett to do much against the Dolphins. He was 6-9 for 92 yards and was sacked twice in a little over a half of work.
“I think he did a lot of good things,” said Patriots head coach BIll Belichick Monday. “There are some things we need to work on. That’s probably true for everybody that played though. But I thought he handled himself pretty well. It wasn’t an easy situation but he did a good job with it.”
I asked Patriots head coach Bill Belichick what he’d seen while evaluating Brissett before the 2016 NFL Draft. He didn’t really elaborate.
“We thought he’d just be a good fit for our team and our system based on all of the things that we did to evaluate him,” replied Belichick.
Ahh, neat. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was a little more forthcoming.
“He has really good poise, very smart guy. He’s got good size; he’s like 235 pounds. He’s a good football player. When we evaluated him in the draft, we felt the same way then, too. He’s a bright guy and he’s coached very well there. He was coached well at N.C. State. I know one thing that stands out to me is Coach (Bill) Parcells has very good things, very complimentary of the kid, which to me says a lot. Obviously, Coach (Bill) Belichick trusts him with their offense and Josh McDaniels – they think highly of him. This guy is a good player. He went in there, it was a tough situation to go into that type of a game and played well.”
Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader played against Brissett while at Clemson. His Tigers beat the Wolfpack twice while Brissett was a starter, 56-41 on October 31, 2015 (Brissett: 24-41 passing for 254 yards 3 TD, 8 rushes for -2 yards and a TD), and 41-0 on October 4, 2014 (Brissett: 4-18 passing for 35 yards, 16 rushes for 14 yards).
“Everytime we played against him it was a big game and he showed up,” said Reader. “He makes good reads, good throws, and he’s a good player. Just tough.”
Still, even with Garoppolo injured, O’Brien is preparing for ANYTHING that the Patriots might throw at the Texans.
“To me, we have to get ready for Jimmy (Garoppolo),” said O’Brien. “We have to get ready for Jacoby (Brissett) . . . We studied both of those guys in the draft and spent some time with Jimmy. His two games against Arizona and Miami were very impressive. This guy is a really good quarterback, smart, quick release, accurate, can run, tough guy. Like I said, when Jacoby (Brissett) went in there, I thought he handled the game really well, good poise. We will continue to study. We will work hard just like they are working hard and try to do the best we can to put together a good game plan.”
There’s been no confirmation – yet – that Brissett will get the start. But no matter who’s under center, the Texans are 2.5 point favorites for Thursday night’s game in Foxboro. That surprised Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus.
“That’s cool,” said Mercilus after a double take. “I’m surprised that anybody chose us to be the favorite . . . I guess with the whole quarterback situation.”
Still, Mercilus seemed convinced that the Patriots will be ready to play regardless of the quarterback.
“The Patriots are a good team overall,” continued Mercilus. “They know how to get guys ready to go out there and win a game, no matter who it is. We’ll prepare all the same no matter what and we’ll find out who exactly is going to be the key for them.”
The Patriots succeeded with Garroppolo under center. We’ll see if a third string quarterback is the charm for the Texans to finally beat the Patriots.
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57 and the Spoiler Alert Podcast – available weekly on iTunes and SportsRadio610.com. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.