Tough break for Pats starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who injured his shoulder in the second quarter of the Pats win over Kansas City on Sunday. Jimmy G, who led the Pats to a victory over Arizona last week and led the Pats to touchdowns on their first three drives in Sunday's game against Miami to take a 21-0 lead, was on a roll.
(Photo Credit: usatoday.com)
It’s great news, however, for little-known rookie Jacoby Brissett, a third-round pick out of North Carolina State, who wasn’t expected to see a glimmer of light as the Pats third-string QB.
He’s an afterthought that will become the center of the NFL world on Thursday night. In the two-plus quarters he played to close out the game, Brissett has already made history, having thrown for the most yards of any black quarterback in Patriots history with his 92 passing yards.
Michael Bishop was once 3-of-9 passing for 80 yards, while Rohan Davey was 8-of-19 for 88 yards. None of the team's other three active black GB's made it into a game.
Brissett kept his cool and proved to be another interchangeable part in the Pats machine, leading them to a necessary 10 more points to seal a 31-24 win.
“We have this unbelievable belief in Bill Belichick that no matter what happens they will be fine,” said former NFL head coach Brian Billick on NFL Network. “(Garoppolo’s injury) is going to test them. That offensive line is showing problems...Brissett has to make sure he's not holding the ball too long...He has to get the ball out of his hands quickly...It would be great to get Gronk back. Go ahead and let LeGarrette Blount pound...particularly on a tough, short week. Fortunately the cavalry is on the way, just hold on for two more weeks and Tom Brady will be back.”
Brissett may not ever start a game for the Pats again after Brady returns, but Tom’s absence and Garoppolo's shoulder injury has opened the door for Brissett to show out in his opportunity and set up a huge contract with any of the NFL squads desperate for a QB who has played and thrived under Bill Belichick and the Patriot’s championship formula.
Brissett isn't the first black quarterback that's been on the Patriots roster, and five other signal callers have been on the roster before he arrived. However, he is the first brother in the franchise’s illustrious history to be given the reigns to start a game.
(Photo Credit: boston.com)
It’s not earth-shattering news but it is barrier-breaking noteworthy. The city of Boston has had its problems with the treatment of Black superstars over the years (besides for the anomaly that is Big Papi) and for Brissett to finally break through by circumstance and redefine what a Patriot QB looks like is pretty cool.
According to a post on blog.massivelive.com, the two most recent examples of black quarterbacks on the Patriots roster include Michael Bishop (whose only game came in a buzz-worthy relief performance in 2000) and Rohan Davey (the cannon-armed NFL Europe star and Brady backup from 2002-2004).
Deadspin published an in-depth catalog of every black quarterback to ever play in the league, revealing four more who played with the Patriots.
(Dates and players via Deadspin's Big Book of Black Quarterbacks)
Onree Jackson was drafted by the Boston Patriots in the fifth round of the 1969 NFL Draft, but did not appear in a game.
Marlin Briscoe started five games for the Patriots in 1976 -- at wide receiver. After playing five games at quarterback in his rookie season in 1969 and setting the Denver Broncos record for TD passes by a QB with 14, he attempted just nine passes for the rest of his career.
Jay Walker was drafted in the seventh round of the 1994 NFL Draft but never appeared in a game with the Patriots. He is now a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
Tom Brady’s misfortune has proved to be his backup QB’s monumental gain throughout the four-time Super Bowl winner’s mythical career. When Brady went down with a torn ACL and MCL for the 2008 season, a backup named Matt Cassel led the Pats to an 11-5 record and parlayed that run into a six-year, $62.7 million contract with Kansas City.
When Brady’s four-game suspension to begin the 2016 NFL season became unavoidable, another obscure signal caller named Jimmy Garoppolo was anointed starter and his stock has risen since the Pats went 3-1 in the preseason and 2-0 so far this season without Tom Terrific.
Whispers that Jimmy G could take over for an aging Brady in a few years became loud affirmations by media and Pats fans. What was shaping up to be a Hollywood story for Garoppolo who, if anything, has ensured that NFL teams will be looking to extract him from the Pats’ grasp and throw big cheddar at him, took an unfortunate turn.
He was hurt late in the second quarter of New England's home opener against the Dolphins after being pile-drived into the ground with the full weight of Miami linebacker Kiki Alonso with 4:20 left in the half. Garoppolo landed hard on his right arm and was in obvious pain.
The Pats took Garoppolo to the a local hospital and he was diagnosed with a sprained AC (acromioclavicular) joint and will probably be out for Thursday night against the Texans, however, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Pats have not ruled out the possibility of him playing a backup role.
Now the spotlight is on Brissett. What will he do with it?