Keeping three QBs on roster tied to Patriots' future planning
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots will hold their first public training camp practice on July 27. As part of the lead-up to camp, I'll spotlight one position each weekday to highlight the team's personnel and some of the storylines of note.
Roster locks: Brady, Garoppolo, Brissett
Three quarterbacks on roster with future in mind: Since 2009, this will mark just the third time the Patriots have kept three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. The preference had been just two in order to open up a roster spot elsewhere. But with Brady approaching his 40th birthday on Aug. 3 and Garoppolo entering the final year of his contract, planning for the future means that 2016 third-round pick Brissett will be in the mix again. When Brady served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season, Garoppolo started the Patriots' first two games before his injury thrust Brissett into that role. Keeping the second-year QB on the active roster is a hedge against a similar situation this season as well as preparation for Brissett to assume the No. 2 spot if Garoppolo leaves next offseason.
Health report: Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, told “CBS This Morning” in May that Brady sustained a concussion in 2016, adding another layer to any analysis of Brady’s medical file. Brady’s agent said the quarterback was never diagnosed with a concussion, but it's possible Brady had a concussion that he didn't report and that wasn't diagnosed. ... Garoppolo missed some time at the end of spring practices with a calf/leg injury, but the 25-year-old was still on the field with his teammates during that stretch, just watching when the pace of practice picked up. A check-in with his status at the start of training camp will be on the to-do list.
Stat check: Brady has started an NFL-record 34 playoff games. Among fellow quarterbacks, Peyton Manning (27), Brett Favre (24), Joe Montana (23) and John Elway (21) are next in line, with Ben Roethlisberger the closest active signal-caller at 20.
Quote of note: "Really special player to coach. Tom works very hard. He is very smart, he's trained hard, he's worked hard on his throwing mechanics, he's worked hard on his mental understanding of the game and process. He's earned everything that he has achieved, but ... he's not a great natural athlete. He is a very smart, instinctive football player." -- Bill Belichick, in April, speaking about Brady to CNBC’s Suzy Welch