At first glance, it may appear that New England Patriots quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Tom Brady don’t have much in common. But if you remember what Brady was like early in his career, Brissett seems like a very similar quarterback.
Brissett in 2016 and Brady in 2001 both are/were on teams with the following traits:
- A strong running attack
- A stout defense
- A legendary coach
Let’s unpack these items, shall we?
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First of all, the 2001 Patriots were shepherded by the running of Antowain Smith, whose 1,157 yards on the year assisted Brady immensely. Similarly, on Thursday night, Brissett was aided significantly by the rushing of LeGarrette Blount.
The point here is that both Brady in 2001 and Brissett in Week 3 were very inexperienced quarterbacks, but were capable of winning behind good running backs.
Additionally, having a suffocating defense was a major reason why Brady was able to beat the odds and lead the Patriots to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI. That’s not unlike Brissett, who relied on a huge defensive effort from Matt Patricia’s men to shut out the Texans.
Last but certainly not least, both Brady in 2001 and Brissett in Week 3 benefitted from having the greatest coach of all-time assist them. The football IQ of Bill Belichick has not diminished in the intervening 15 years; Bill guided Brissett in Week 3 just like he showed Brady the ropes a decade and a half ago.
Of course, the actual playing styles of the two quarterbacks differ to some degree. Brady was the textbook pocket passer in 2001 with next to no mobility or scrambling ability, and that hasn’t changed; meanwhile, Brissett boasts enough speed to escape for a 27-yard rushing touchdown.
But it should be noted that Brissett doesn’t run the ball unless it is a designed play or he identifies a real opportunity. In that sense, Brissett is a pocket passer first, runner second, adding another layer of support to the argument that Brissett and 2001-edition Brady have much in common.
More than anything, of course, Brissett and September 2001 Brady have the following trait in common: they stepped up and did their job in the wake of the man above them getting hurt. If Brissett continues to fulfill his duty like that, he will be in New England for a long time, possibly longer than Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be bombarded with contract offers when his contract runs out.