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McDaniels: Pats didn't question Garoppolo's toughness

Patriots play-caller Josh McDaniels hit the airwaves Monday to shoot down rumors that coaches were upset with Jimmy Garoppolo's inability to get back on the field in time for Sunday's loss to the Bills.

"Jimmy worked hard to get ready to go all week," McDaniels told WEEI-FM of the quarterback still making his way back from an injured shoulder. "I don't have any knowledge of any of that stuff. I just know he was trying as hard as he could to prepare to play. And then yesterday they told me that Jacoby (Brissett) would be the starter."

Said McDaniels: "I've never had a question of any of our players' toughness."

Brissett was dealing with a thumb injury, but played wire-to-wire in New England's ugly 16-0 loss to the Bills. Luckily for the Patriots, though, the musical chairs at quarterback is over with Tom Brady finally returning this week from a four-game suspension.

The Patriots escaped Brady's absence with an admirable 3-1 record, thanks in part to Garoppolo, who took down the Cardinals in the opener and played beautifully in Week 2 before the injury struck.

From where McDaniels sits, Garoppolo's recovery was never a source of irritation to coach Bill Belichick or anyone else inside team walls.

"We were getting everybody ready to go, and those two guys certainly were involved in the preparation," McDaniels said of Brady's two backups. "Anytime you're dealing with the things that they're dealing with, it really comes down to ultimately a medical clearance the day of the game. When we're going through our meetings, our walk-throughs -- and both of them were limited last week in practice to what they could do -- the best thing you can do as a coach is try to prepare them to play as they're cleared and have them ready to go mentally. And wherever they're at physically, you try to manage that the best you can if they're cleared to play. So that's what we were doing. Our process was the same as it normally is."

Now the "process" involves Brady instead of a hodgepodge of backups, which serves as very bad news for the rest of the AFC East.

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