The shoulder injury that knocked Jimmy Garoppolo out of the Patriots’ Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins will keep him from starting a Thursday Night Football showdown against the Houston Texans. Rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett will start for New England in his place.
Garoppolo is officially inactive for the game.
The news of Brissett’s start broke on Thursday after Patriots coach Bill Belichick was expectedly tight-lipped about his player’s health early in the week. When it came to his young quarterback, the most he could tell the press on Tuesday was that he "(wasn’t) a doctor."
Garoppolo sprained the AC joint in his shoulder last Sunday after absorbing a crunching tackle from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso. He departed the game in the second quarter and was replaced by Brissett, who helped the Pats hang on for a 31-24 home victory.
The first-year passer completed 6 of 9 passing attempts for 92 yards, and was sacked twice as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels installed a conservative offensive scheme for his young quarterback.
Brissett will make his first-ever NFL start just three games into his professional career. He’ll face a Texans defense that ranked third in the league in yards allowed last season. The mobile quarterback will have to make plays with his legs once J.J. Watt and the rest of Houston’s fearsome front seven break through the Patriots’ offensive line.
Brissett will be the sixth quarterback to make his first start under Bill Belichick. Todd Philcox, Eric Zeier, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, and Jimmy Garoppolo are undefeated in their first career starts under Belichick’s leadership.
He’ll be the team’s only healthy true quarterback on Thursday. New England chose not to sign a backup quarterback with Garoppolo injured and Tom Brady still two games from finishing his league-mandated DeflateGate suspension. Instead, Julian Edelman, who played quarterback in college for Kent State before converting to wide receiver with the Pats, will be another option to lead the offense in case Brissett is injured.
The team did work in practice this week to prepare Edelman to serve as Brissett’s backup, if necessary. The Patriots made sure Edelman was comfortable calling plays and taking snaps, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
At least one high ranking Patriot is comfortable with Edelman behind center. "He's played the position," Brady told Westwood One radio on Monday night. "God forbid anything happened to Jacoby. If he's the only guy out there at quarterback, if that's the case, then I'd expect Julian to go in there and the coaches to be comfortable with the plays that they're calling for him."