FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Coach Bill Belichick said a roster filled with players who are 100 percent healthy is obviously the ideal scenario.
Tom Brady’s various ailments this season, most recently a right elbow issue, haven’t caused the veteran quarterback to miss game action, but have caused him to missed practice time. Belichick said rookie Jarrett Stidham and veteran third-string reserve Cody Kessler have been able to benefit from the increased practice workloads.
“Those guys are always ready to go. It’s an opportunity for them. It’s hard to practice three quarterbacks. There have been a couple examples where Tom hasn’t been able to do a lot this year,” Belichick said. “It gives Stid an opportunity to go with the first group and run our plays and run our offense. That’s been good for him and given Cody an opportunity to run more of the scout team plays when Jarrett’s not taking those.
Quarterbacks are always looking for more work.
“They’ve taken advantage of it. I think it’s helped them. You don’t always want to do it that way. Sometimes it’s best to do things that way and its best for everybody,” Belichick said. “We want everybody out there as healthy as they can be. That’s the goal, but it’s not always that way. It’s a better scenario than having just two quarterbacks. Then one guy has to take everything. Not that one guy can’t do 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 conducive to high-level execution.”
Unlike a year ago when Brian Hoyer, a veteran who’d spent ample time in Foxborough, was backing up Brady, the two reserve quarterbacks each have less than a year as Patriots. Kessler has 12 career starts over three seasons but they were in different systems. The 26-year-old has never even dressed on game day for New England. Stidham has appeared in mop-up duty three times for the Patriots, but hasn’t attempted a pass since September.
Belichick said it’s challenging to coach in a way that’s not too elementary for Brady or too advanced for Stidham and Kessler. It’s why assistant quarterbacks coach Mick Lombardi spends a lot of time with the younger QBs.
“When you have two quarterbacks at two different levels relative to overall experience or experience in our system where neither Cody nor Jarrett have very much, there’s a lot of things that we need to go over with them that we’ve been over with Tom probably 400 times. We try to be a little more efficient with it,” Belichick said. “There’s guys at every position that have a lot of experience and guys that don’t have very much. You don’t want to talk down to the guys who have a lot of experience and you don’t want to talk above guys that really don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s a time as a teacher you have to bridge that.”

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