What to expect from Jacoby Brissett with the Patriots in 2024 

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

There’s an old military adage known as the five Ps that states, “Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Any objective observer will tell you the Patriots' preparation for the 2024 season has been far from perfect.  

Fifteen weeks out from the start of the season, nobody knows who the number 1 receiver is, there isn’t a left tackle on the roster, and nobody can be certain who will play quarterback in Week 1. 

When they signed Jacoby Brissett in free agency, it seemed they only needed to draft a project quarterback like Joe Milton III. Instead, they used the third overall pick on a developmental prospect AND took Milton III 190 picks later!

They still have the quarterback who started the team's last six games, Bailey Zappe, on the roster. 

Bargain Brissett

On the plus side, Jacoby Brissett’s 2023 salary will be lower than that of Colts stud Anthony Richardson, and he is still on a rookie deal. Oddly, it is higher than the amount Tua is due to earn on his current deal! It’s not the price of the contract that makes signing Brissett odd, though, is it?

If they knew they were going to draft two QBs, why not save the $8 million they’re paying Brissett and invest it in a left tackle or number-one receiver to help out Zappe instead? 

Presumably, they see Brissett as a mentor for the younger signal callers who will begin the season below him on the depth chart. Even though he’s headed into his third year in the league, Zappe is only 25. That plan would make sense, but football is rarely sensible. 

How did he get here?

In 2016, Brissett was the young buck in New England, learning at the feet of both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo! Since his rookie year, he has alternated between starting and backup roles. More recently, he has, to one degree or another, mentored both Tua in 2021 and Sam Howell in Washington in 2023.  

The Dolphins won nine when Brissett was in Miami, keeping a watchful eye on Tua. But like the Patriots, the Commanders only won four games last season. In fairness to Brissett, the quarterback situation wasn’t why the Commanders underperformed in 2023. Brissett wasn't on the field much, and they allowed Howell to be sacked 65 times! That’s just one of the reasons they struggled. 

Familiar faces

Antonio Gibson joined Brissett in leaving Washington and heading north in free agency. He’s not the only friendly face Brissett will see in navy blue this season either, and that’s why his signing makes some sense. He has previously worked with Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. 

Former North Carolina State Gamecock Brissett only played in three games last season. He was only in the game for three snaps in Week 13 against the Dolphins. He was to be more involved in the next two games, though. The 31-year-old threw 26 passes in games against the Rams and Jets, three of those found the endzone. He also rushed three times for 19 yards. 

Running back Gibson caught six of those passes for 22 yards. The 25-year-old Georgia native only carried the ball 13 times in those two games, averaging just 3.46 yards on a very clunky Commanders offense. Despite the inauspicious circumstances, Gibson scored a rushing touchdown in those games.

His shared experience alongside Brissett will help Gibson become the Patriots’ lead back in 2024, at least to start the season. 

During Brissett’s spell in Cleveland, he also played with newly signed middle linebacker Sione Takitaki, but hopefully, he won’t have to throw many passes to him this season! Unfortunately, Brissett’s and new Patriots tight end Austin Hooper’s careers in Cleveland didn’t overlap, but they should understand Van Pelt’s plan.

So, they could form an important partnership while everyone else is learning a new system. 

The new faces

However, Brissett hasn’t played with any of the Patriots' receiving corps. So, things get murkier when deciphering how the rookie receivers will fit in alongside the established guys.  

In college, Ja’Lynn Polk was a dangerous deep threat for Michael Penix, but it’s difficult to see Van Pelt calling many slow-developing, deep pass plays, especially early in the season. While the 22-year-old did specialize in “go” routes and catching passes on “post” routes, he also had success catching passes in the flat and on “comeback” routes.  

NFL defenses won’t be worried by Polk's speed, though, so he won’t be afforded the cushion he had in college, and it won’t be as simple for him to find space. In what projects to be a very conservative ball-control offense, Brissett won’t want to throw passes to receivers who are covered so that the second-round pick may get off to a slow start in Foxborough. 

On the other hand, Javon Baker has the footwork to lose defenders from the get-go, but he often lined up in the slot at UCF. If that’s how the Patriots intend to use him, the 22-year-old will compete with 23-year-old Demario Douglas for snaps. Even though "Pop" led the receiving corps in catches last year, Douglas had concussion issues so that the Patriots might take a more cautious approach with him in 2024.  

Then there’s Juju Smith-Schuster, he’s also a specialist slot receiver but battled a troublesome knee injury in his first year in New England. It was recently reported the issue even hampered the Super Bowl winner during his time in Kansas City.

The former USC pass-catcher told reporters he was only at 60% in 2023 but is 100% now. If true, he will add an extra dimension with his run-blocking and receiving skills. 

The Patriots' quarterbacks ran the ball 43 times in 2023, averaging 3.5 yards per attempt. Brissett only ran the ball three times (that was 7% of his total snaps, though). The 30-year-old averaged 6.3 yards per attempt as a Commander!

When Van Pelt coached him in Cleveland, his scrambling ability was a feature of the offense; he ran the ball 49 times in 16 games. Brissett ran in two touchdowns and averaged 5.0 yards per attempt. It’ll be interesting to see if Van Pelt will call quarterback runs this year (and if he does it’ll be fun to see Milton III execute them in preseason). 

What's the plan?

So, what should you expect from Brissett in 2024? He’ll be a human crash test dummy while the Patriots sort out their offensive line. They’ll also have to figure out who the number 1 receiver is and where Jaheim Bell will line up. 

Once that’s all cleared up, they’ll probably hand the reigns over to Drake Maye. Hopefully, Brissett can survive the long chaos. If he does and can play error-free football, Brissett may well keep the starting job deep into the season.

One slightly interesting (or obscure) aspect of the Patriots’ quarterback room at the moment is that, physically, at least, Joe Milton II is more comparable to Brissett than Maye is. Brissett weighs 235 pounds, as does Milton III, and Maye, on the other hand, is just 223 pounds.

He’ll need to pack on some muscle if he’s going to survive the sort of hi, he’ll be taking behind an offensive line with no specialist left tackle. 

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