Pats, Browns forced to turn to third-string QBs

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots’ third­stringer Ja­coby Bris­sett was forced into ac­tion on Sun­day when Jimmy Garop­polo in­jured his throw­ing shoul­der in the sec­ond quar­ter against the Mi­ami Dol­phins.

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. » Ja­coby Bris­sett in­her­ited a 21-point lead — and good field po­si­tion — when he made his NFL de­but.

If he makes his first ca­reer start against the Hous­ton Tex­ans on Thurs­day night, things will be a bit more dif­fi­cult.

The New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots’ third-stringer was forced into ac­tion on Sun­day when Jimmy Garop­polo in­jured his throw­ing shoul­der in the sec­ond quar­ter against the Mi­ami Dol­phins.

With starter Tom Brady serv­ing a four-game sus­pen­sion for his role in the “De­flate­gate” scan­dal, Bris­sett would be the No. 1 QB against Hous­ton if Garop­polo can’t re­turn from his right shoul­der in­jury in time.

“He’s a smart young kid,” re­ceiver Danny Amen­dola said on Monday, a day after Bris­sett came on in re­lief and helped the Pa­tri­ots seal a 31-24 vic­tory over the Dol­phins.

“I know he hasn’t been in the NFL for a long time, but he seems to grasp what we are try­ing to do.”

A 23-year-old rookie who was a third-round pick in this year’s draft, Bris­sett com­pleted 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards against the Dol­phins.

The Pa­tri­ots re­lied heav­ily on the run late in the game, though they were also try­ing to nurse a lead that grew to 24-0 be­fore Bris­sett even com­pleted his first NFL pass.

“It wasn’t an easy sit­u­a­tion, but he did a good job with it,” Pa­tri­ots coach Bill Belichick said on Monday.

Bris­sett’s pro­mo­tion is cer­tainly short-lived: Ei­ther Garop­polo gets bet­ter quickly and fin­ishes off Brady’s sus­pen­sion as the starter, or Bris­sett han­dles things un­til Week 5, when Brady is el­i­gi­ble to re­turn.

Nei­ther Belichick nor of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Josh McDaniels would com­ment on their plans.

But Bris­sett knows he needs to be ready.

“The quar­ter­back — he’s go­ing to pre­pare for the game the same way, re­gard­less of whether he’s go­ing to start the game or not,” Belichick said. “You could take a de­fen­sive back and say ... ‘We’re only go­ing to use you in this sit­u­a­tion.’ But you can’t do that with a quar­ter­back.”

Browns lose an­other start­ing QB as McCown out

BEREA, OHIO » Cleve­land’s no­to­ri­ous quar­ter­back carousel has thrown an­other rider.

Just two weeks into a new season, the Browns are down two starters.

“This is pro foot­ball and these things hap­pen,” first-year coach Hue Jack­son said. “Maybe not to this de­gree any place I have been.” Welcome aboard, coach. With Josh McCown out in­def­i­nitely after sus­tain­ing a “deep sprain” in his left shoul­der dur­ing Sun­day’s loss to Bal­ti­more, the Browns will start rookie Cody Kessler this week at Mi­ami.

McCown’s in­jury comes just a week after Robert Grif­fin III broke a bone in his left shoul­der dur­ing the season opener at Philadel­phia and will be side­lined for a min­i­mum of eight games.

Jack­son did not pro­vide any specifics about the in­jury to McCown, who dis­played tough­ness by stay­ing in the game and ab­sorb­ing sev­eral big hits while nearly lead­ing the Browns (0-2) to a come­back win.

All that’s clear is that McCown won’t play this week, and that un­less the Browns trade or sign a vet­eran in the next few days, Kessler will be­come the 26th starter for Cleve­land since 1999 — and fifth in the past five games for the Browns, snake bit­ten at the game’s most im­por­tant po­si­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously, he is the next guy up,” Jack­son said of Kessler, a fouryear starter at USC who strug­gled dur­ing train­ing camp and the ex­hi­bi­tion season. “Cody will be out there play­ing. There is no doubt about that.”

Jack­son, though, was vague as he dis­cussed the ex­tent of McCown’s in­jury, a timetable for his re­turn and any other op­tions at quar­ter­back.

At one point, Jack­son joked that he might suit up next for the Browns. Jack­son still has his sense of hu­mor, but it could be tested in the com­ing weeks if the Browns, who play four of their next five games on the road, con­tinue to lose quar­ter­backs at an alarm­ing rate.

Jack­son said Cleve­land’s front of­fice will con­sider sign­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced QB, and there are some avail­able free agents in­clud­ing Michael Vick, Char­lie White­hurst, Matt Flynn, and T.J. Yates.

Charg­ers’ Wood­head to miss rest of season with torn ACL

SAN DIEGO » Ver­sa­tile run­ning back Danny Wood­head went on season-end­ing in­jured re­serve Monday with a torn ACL in his right knee, the sec­ond San Diego Charg­ers play­maker to be lost in as many weeks.

Wood­head was hurt when he was tack­led after a catch in the first quar­ter of a 38-14 vic­tory against Jack­sonville on Sun­day.

Wood­head also missed most of the 2014 season with a bro­ken an­kle.

Coach Mike McCoy said the loss of Wood­head is sim­i­lar to the loss of wide re­ceiver Keenan Allen to the same in­jury a week ear­lier in a season-open­ing loss at Kansas City.

“There’s not an­other Danny Wood­head out there, with what he does in all as­pects of the game, not only on the field but off the field, the type of per­son he is,” McCoy said. “This is an­other tough one.

“He does ev­ery­thing the way you want it to be done and he is even a bet­ter per­son,” McCoy said. “It is a shame that this hap­pened.

“But I’ll prom­ise you one thing Danny will be back, stronger than ever. That’s why he’s been so suc­cess­ful in this busi­ness. He al­ways has that chip on his shoul­der. He comes to work every day and treats it as his last day. He is a great ex­am­ple of what it means to be a pro.”

Wood­head led the Charg­ers last season with 80 catches for 755 yards and six scores, while rush­ing for 336 yards and three scores.

Also Monday, safety Jahleel Ad­dae was un­der­go­ing surgery for a bro­ken left col­lar­bone.

Wood­head was re­placed on the ac­tive ros­ter by former In­di­anapo­lis Colts wide re­ceiver Griff Whalen.

The Charg­ers (1-1) play Sun­day at In­di­anapo­lis (0-2).

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