Cleat Geeks

Patriot Post: AJ Derby at Quarterback?

As the New England Patriots prepare for their upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills, experts and fans alike are asking the same questions. Who will be the Patriots starting quarterback?

jimmygaroppoloHere is the team’s current QB situation:

Tom Brady: Suspended

Jimmy Garoppolo: Suffered a shoulder injury Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins, but he returned to practice Tuesday

Jacoby Brissett: Suffered a thumb injury Week 3 against the Houston Texans. He attended practice Tuesday.

Julian Edelman: He has played wide receiver in all three games. He is the team’s emergency QB.

This is uncharted territory for the Bill Belichick-led Patriots. To put this into perspective, if a third player starts at quarterback for the Patriots Sunday, they will have had the same number of starters through four weeks as the 0-3 Cleveland Browns. (Ironically, this will happen in Week 5 no matter what when Brady returns to face, you guessed it, the Browns).

jacobybrissThose close to the situation believe the Patriots path is obvious. Even Rex Ryan thinks he has it figured out. Experts believe that either Brissett or Garoppolo will be healthy enough to play, and the other will serve as backup, with Edelman again playing the role of emergency QB.

Though this is the most likely circumstance, now is the time to ask the what ifs.

What is neither Brissett nor Garoppolo is healthy enough to play? What will the Patriots do?

At this point in the week, it is safe to assume the team will not be signing another quarterback because of the minimal amount of time he will have to prepare for this week’s game. Additionally, if the Patriots were to sign another QB, they would have to cut one of the 53 men already on the roster, which would open them up to waivers or free agency.

The Patriots do not want to lose any of their players, but they would be left without a healthy quarterback. Cue Edelman? No.

Belichick would hate to take his top pass-catching receiver off the field. To prevent this, he might pull out yet another trick to catch the Bills off guard.

One of the final additions to the Patriots 53-man roster was AJ Derby. He has only been active in one of the team’s three games, and on the current roster, he is essentially a backup to the backup tight end.derby_draft

He might not seem like a threat; however, in Week 4, Derby has the potential to play a much bigger role. Derby, who played at both Iowa and Arkansas, actually played quarterback at both schools for brief periods of time before converting full-time to tight end his senior season.

As a sophomore at Iowa, Derby went three-for-six passing for 30 yards. As a junior at Arkansas, he went 19-36 for 178 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Additionally, as a senior in high school, Derby finished the year as the number one QB in the state of Iowa.

Now Derby is not the second coming of Tom Brady, but he is another player on the Patriots roster with quarterback experience.

Much like in their Week 3 match-up against the Texans, the Patriots playbook was simple. Give the ball to LeGarette Blount, and do not turn the ball over. With that strategy, they won 27-0.

If Derby steps in and plays quarterback in Week 4, he will have Edelman to whom he can throw the ball short, which will keep the field open for Blount to make big plays in the ground game.

So, who will be the Patriots starter when the kickoff against the Bills Sunday? Probably Brissett or Garoppolo, but the potential for a sleeper pick in Derby is still available.

When the game starts, don’t be surprised if number 86 is lined up taking the first offensive snap for the Patriots.

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