Bill Belichick: Priority is to get Jimmy Garoppolo ready

Even though he has no other sensible options, Patriots coach Bill Belichick laid out his concrete plan for the first four games of the 2016 season without Tom Brady.

"Our priority now is to get Jimmy (Garoppolo) ready for the start of the season, the Arizona game," Belichick said Wednesday. "So that will obviously be a comprehensive process. Tom (Brady) will return as the starting quarterback when he comes back, but in the meantime we can prioritize the first part of our schedule."

While some expected Belichick to toss Garoppolo into the competition pool (at least theoretically) with third-round pick Jacoby Brissett, there will be no room for interpretation. Garoppolo will play against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills and Brady will return on Sunday, Oct. 9 against the Browns in Cleveland.

So goes an attempt to put the long suspension saga behind us all. Belichick was obviously hopeful that this statement, provided in typical, terse style, would answer any and all questions before the barrage. Belichick's worst nightmare would involve endless hypothetical questions from reporters during training camp about a quarterback battle that was never taking place. Though that might be a pipe dream, it was clear Garoppolo will get his chance to shine -- something no other quarterback has gotten to do since Matt Cassel in 2008.

The coach, who added his depth chart provided a 'good problem to have' had no comment on Brady's suspension.

"No commentary," Belichick said, via The Boston Herald. "We know what we have to work with, and that's what we're doing."

We assume the Patriots machine will keep on rolling in Brady's absence, though safety Devin McCourty cautioned reporters on Wednesday that it's not that simple. Garoppolo is 20-31 for 188 yards, one touchdown and no picks in 11 appearances over two seasons.

"I think it's an adjustment," McCourty said. "Obviously, you can't take the field without a guy like that and think you're gonna go out there and pick up where you were last year and fall right into stride. ... We have two other quarterbacks who have been very competitive. Jimmy's been here a couple years now. I think as a team, we just come together, go out there and figure out a way to win. That's what it comes down to. We can't just stick on that subject. Just prepare and get ready to play."

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