With Tom Brady sitting out due to his four-game Deflategate suspension, Jimmy Garoppolo was supposed to fill in at quarterback for the New England Patriots, and he did very well in his debut as a starter last week. But the Patriots may be starting yet another QB in Brady’s place on Thursday night against the Houston Texans, as Garoppolo went down late in the first half, suffering a right shoulder injury as third-string rookie Jacoby Brissett took over for the rest of the game. Fortunately for the Patriots, Garoppolo left with the team leading by 21, Brissett didn’t do poorly at all, and the team still escaped with a 31-24 win over the visiting Miami Dolphins Sunday night at the Gillette Stadium.

Brissett impresses in two full quarters of play

Though the Patriots were already set with Garoppolo serving as Tom Brady’s young understudy at quarterback, the team realized they would need some sort of insurance policy in case Garoppolo would be hurt during Brady’s Deflategate suspension. As such, they selected North Carolina State quarterback Brissett in the third round of the 2016 draft. But no one was expecting him to see action so soon, much less have a strong outing.

After the game, Brissett stressed the values of being prepared, telling reporters twice that it’s important to “make sure you’re ready” for an opportunity to play. And he did indeed look prepared and ready, attempting only nine passes, but connecting on six for a total of 92 yards as the Patriots focused on running the ball to preserve their lead.

Brady will return as starter in Week 5, regardless of what happens

As of now, it’s unsure whether Garoppolo will be available for Week 3 action, due to his shoulder injury. At the time of the injury, he had gone 18-for-27 for 234 yards and thrown three touchdown passes, looking even better than he did when he led the New England Patriots to a close win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1.

But even with his excellent play and Brissett looking like a potentially good fill-in for the fill-in, Patriots coach Bill Belichick appears steadfast on his pledge to start Brady at quarterback when he returns for Week 5 action.

But what if the unthinkable happens and Brissett gets injured in the coming two Brady-less games?

And what if New England wants to go with someone more tested? Belichick isn’t known to have a lot of quarterbacks on his roster, but there’s a chance he may give the free agent scene a try. There’s also wide receiver Julian Edelman, a former college quarterback at Kent State, though he said after the game that he’s more focused on helping Brissett and not thinking at all of pulling emergency duty at QB.

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