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Presser Points - Belichick: 'I've been through quite a few quarterback situations'

New England’s coach talked about rookie passer Jacoby Brissett, among other things, during his Monday morning conference call with the local media.


Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been through a lot, and seen a lot of different situations arise, during his four-plus decades on an NFL sideline.

He's dealt with even more football uncertainty if you consider how he grew up in a football family around the Navy football program.

So it's hard to throw something at the future Hall of Fame coach that he hasn't seen before on some level.

But, there is no question that he and his New England team are facing some challenging circumstances this week.

Coming off Sunday afternoon's win in the home opener against the Dolphins, the Patriots are 2-0 and atop the AFC East heading into Thursday night's battle with the Texans (2-0) at Gillette Stadium.

But the quarterback position in New England is as uncertain as it has been in two-plus decades. Tom Brady has two more games to serve on his four-game NFL Deflategate suspension. Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out of Sunday's win against Miami with a shoulder injury after dominating the Dolphins in the first half. Rookie third-round pick Jacoby Brissett came on to hang on with the rest of the team for the win at the wire.

With Bill O'Brien, J.J. Watt and the upstart Texans coming to town, there is uncertainty about the quarterback depth chart in Foxborough that's unlike anything since Drew Bledsoe took over as the No 1 pick.

How long is Garoppolo sidelined for? Is Brissett ready for what could be his first NFL start on Thursday night? Will New England add a quarterback this week to put through a crash course of the offensive playbook and game plan? Could Julian Edelman really be the backup and be one play away?

That's a lot of questions with very few answers at the early point in the short week.

Belichick did offer up some of his opinions on the quarterback situation and his rookie passer in particular in his Monday morning conference call with the New England media. Here are a few highlights from that call.

1. Belichick's dealt with QB "situations" before: Belichick is the man who made the tough choice to go from Bernie Kosar to Vinny Testaverde with the Browns. He moved on from Bledsoe to Brady with the Patriots. He's won games with unproven backups. So, don't expect Belichick to be overwhelmed with the current landscape he has at the position.

"I've been through quite a few quarterback situations," Belichick declared when asked if he'd ever gone into a game with just one healthy quarterback.

But he wasn't looking compare this situation at the position with others that might stand out in his mind from previous points in his long, impressive career

"Right now it's really…I don't think that really matters," Belichick said. "We have a short week. Our matchup is against Houston and across the board in all three phases of the game we have to do the best job we can getting ready to go, all our players, our coaches and our scheme, for Thursday night."

2. Blount's "had some space to run": Running back LeGarrette Blount was a big part of the Patriots holding on and running out the clock on Sunday's win over Miami. The big back matched a career high with 29 carries totaling 123 yards on the ground, 92 of which came in the second half. Through two games, Blount currently ranks third in the NFL with 193 yards on the ground.

It hasn't been perfect – Blount has just a 3.8-yard average on the season – but the veteran has produced when needed, including a pair of impressive touchdown runs through two weeks. What's been the driving force behind the early-season success?

"Well, I'd say the biggest thing that's contributed to it is that he's had some space to run," Belichick said. "There were too many plays last year that it wouldn't make any difference who the back was, we couldn't get them started, we couldn't get them into any kind of space, couldn't let the back build up any kind of momentum. I think all our backs have ability to make yards. They've all been productive. We've seen it in preseason. We've seen it through the years, with some of these guys, depending on which guy you want to talk about. But you have to give them a chance. You have to give them a chance to have some type of opportunity to operate with some space or momentum or something. No back can gain yardage when there's no place to run, I don't care how good the guy is."

3. Jacoby Brissett has shown "good poise" under pressure: Described by many draft pundits as a raw prospect when picked by the Patriots in the third-round out of N.C. State last spring, Brissett has made impressive strides in just a short time in New England. Though he wasn't asked to do a ton to carry the offense when thrown into the fire against the Dolphins, Brissett appeared relatively comfortable stepping up when needed. Given that he may be asked to start his first NFL game on Thursday night, Belichick was asked what he thought of Brissett performance in terms of poise under pressure.

"I think he's done a good job of that all through preseason and even some of the practice opportunities with us and with the Bears and Saints," Belichick said of Brissett. "Good poise, good decision-making under pressure. When I say pressure, having people around him, I'm not just talking about all-out blitzes but having people in the pocket around him, having people out in space that are closing in on him. To throw, to run, what decision to make there. So he's gotten a lot of opportunities to do that since his been here and I think he's done a pretty good job of that."

Belichick also balked at the idea that any quarterback, including Brissett, might prepare differently to start rather than back up.

"The quarterback has to prepare for the game regardless of whether he's going to start the game or not," Belichick said. "By the second play of the game he could be in there. It's not like there is any part of the game he can not prepare for. He has to prepare for any of it. He could be in there for the last play of the game. He has to prepare for that. He has to prepare for all the ones in between. So I don't know how the preparation would be any different. The amount of reps, the amount of timing and all that. That of course would depend on how those are distributed."

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