FOXBOROUGH — Jacoby Brissett only needs to look forward. The Patriots’ rookie quarterback has no reason to look over his shoulder.
Bill Belichick made that clear earlier this week when he said the Patriots have had internal discussions about bringing in a fourth quarterback (who could move to third when Tom Brady’s suspension begins), but the coach was quick to add, “We are where we’re at right now.’’
It was a vote of confidence that Belichick believes Brissett, a third-round draft choice from N.C. State, can handle the job of being the team’s top backup for Weeks 1-4. Brissett appreciated the sentiment.
“It makes the position not as hectic. He made the call and you just go out there and do your job and whatever happens, happens,’’ Brissett said Wednesday following the final Patriots-Bears joint practice. “We all got each others’ backs and we just want what’s best for the whole team.’’
Work has been hard to come by for Brissett over the past few weeks as the quarterbacks in front of him on the depth chart, Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, have been splitting the majority of reps in practice sessions with the Saints and Bears.
Brissett, however, hasn’t taken the practices off. He has been absorbing everything and waiting for his chances.
“You’ve just got to make the most of the mental reps. And whenever you get a rep you’ve got to make it count,’’ he said. “Just grind out there like you’re the starter.’’
Brissett got his first taste of NFL action last week against the Saints, playing the entire second half and completing 7 of 13 passes for 63 yards.
“It was what you dream of as a little kid, and it ended up being everything you thought it would be,’’ he said. “It was fun to be out there, to be in the huddle and back on the field doing what you love.’’
He has been getting some 11-on-11 work at the end of recent practices and had perhaps his best showing Tuesday, when he completed 7 of 9 passes with a touchdown during a two-minute drill.
“You can never be too accurate,’’ he said with a big smile as he held Brady’s helmet and shells — it was his turn to lug them to the locker room.
Brissett had another fine showing Wednesday, running the third team with Belichick taking it all in from the backfield.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 235-pounder said he hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about the enormity of being a rookie and the top backup for one of the NFL’s elite franchises.
“I’ve just got to do my job and put my best foot forward and just go out there and do my best,” he said. “Whatever happens from there on is not my call — I only can control what I can.”
As much as he has learned from watching Brady and Garoppolo on the practice field, Brissett has learned just as much in meetings.
“It’s a great room. [There’s] a lot of knowledge being passed around,’’ he said. “It’s good to be in there and to try and learn from those guys.’’
Hoyer said that although it has been a while since he called New England home, the memories quickly flooded back.
“Especially walking to practice, coming back up that way. Seeing the guys, seeing some of the coaches,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like a whole lot’s changed since I left. So it’s been a fun week.’’
Hoyer, who played three seasons for the Patriots, offered some insight into what Garoppolo and Brissett are going through now — learning from Brady while simultaneously preparing to replace him when the need arises.
“You’ve just got to sit there and watch, that’s the biggest thing,’’ said Hoyer, who is now with his fourth franchise since leaving New England after the 2011 season. “He’s also a guy who goes out of his way to help. But I think for me, I remember those years, just trying to sit back and watch and soak up everything. Whether it was in the meeting room, on the field, training, whatever it might be. He’s such an intense competitor. If you can just soak it all up, you just kind of gain it by being around him.’’
Video: Wednesday’s training camp report
Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.