As the New England Patriots prepare for their biggest game of the season in Week 16 on Saturday against the Buffalo Bills, Belichick went into detail regarding Brady’s nagging right elbow ailment which has placed him on the injury report all season long.
In fact, Belichick admitted that the Patriots’ two backup quarterbacks — rookie Jarrett Stidham and veteran Cody Kessler — have seen tons of reps in practice this season due to Brady being limited by his elbow injuries and various other ailments, including most recently a toe injury.
Via Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports:
“Those guys are always ready to go,” Belichick said. “It’s an opportunity for them. It’s hard to practice three quarterbacks, but there have been a couple examples where Tom hasn’t been able to do a lot this year, so that’s given Stidham an opportunity to go with the first group and run our plays and run our offense, and that’s been good for him. It’s given Cody an opportunity to run more scout-team plays because Jarrett’s not taking those. So, quarterbacks are always looking for more work. They’ve taken advantage of it. I think it’s helped them.
Patriots Carrying 3 QB’s Because of Brady’s Injuries
Belichick admits that Stidham — a fourth-round draft selection who has thrown just four passes this season — has seen reps with the first-team offense. Belichick’s revelation that Brady’s injuries have led to increased practice reps for the backups also reveals why New England has carried three quarterbacks this season.
Historically speaking, the Patriots haven’t carried three healthy quarterbacks on their roster for an entire season. In fact, the last time they did so was during their early days of their Super Bowl dynasty when they had guys like Damon Huard and Rohan Davey backing up Brady.
Belichick Admits Pats Are Trying to Keep Brady Healthy
Belichick went on to say the idea of having three quarterbacks is better than having two for the sake of keeping people healthy. Of course, one has to assume he’s talking about Brady — the franchise quarterback.
“You don’t always want to do it that way, sometimes it’s best to do things that way. That’s good for everybody. You know, we want everybody out there as healthy as they can be. That’s ultimately the goal. It’s not always that way, and certainly that’s a better scenario than having just two quarterbacks. Then one guy has to take everything. Not that he can’t take it. It’s the National Football League, but mentally going from a defensive period to an offensive period to a defensive period to an offensive period is not really the best. It’s not as conducive to the high level of execution you need at either one. But sometimes that’s what it is, so you have to adjust.”
Although the 42-year-old Brady has yet to miss a game this season, there have been a few close calls. In fact, he was listed as questionable for the first time in years leading into the Patriots’ Week 12 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys due to his elbow injury.
When one also factors in that Brady will take throwaway incompletions over taking hits at this stage of his career, it would seem that the veteran quarterback really is banged up.
Based upon Belichick’s recent quotes, even the longtime head coach is admitting it.