FOXBOROUGH — Jimmy Garoppolo might have avoided the worst, but his injury threw a wrench into the Patriots’ preparations on a short week.
“I’m not exactly sure of the circumstances yet this week, so I’m not willing to say anything in terms of how many guys we have on the team or whatnot,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said during a conference call Monday.
ESPN reported the Patriots do not plan on signing another quarterback, but Bill Belichick said on WEEI the Patriots would probably work out a QB. Garoppolo could be carried as a backup if he’s limited but able to play, if necessary, but if Garoppolo is unavailable and the Patriots don’t make an addition, Jacoby Brissett would be the only active quarterback on the roster.
“We’ll find out more I think as the day goes on relative to that whole situation,” McDaniels said.
“You know, there have been a few situations where you’ve had or been around a situation where you’ve had one guy more healthy than another and you go to the game and you’re hoping that the percentages are on your side,” McDaniels said. “Generally, that’s not the case. Usually you go to the game with multiple guys that could go in and play at that position.”
A league source told the Globe’s Jim McBride that Garoppolo’s injury might not be as severe as it appeared initially, but it seems likely Brissett will get his first career start.
McDaniels said there were “a lot of positives” from Brissett’s two-plus quarters in Sunday’s game. Brissett didn’t complete either of his two throws before halftime against the Dolphins, but McDaniels said the rookie responded well after the two talked at halftime. Brissett completed six of seven pass attempts in the second half for 92 yards.
“Like every quarterback who’s a young player, you’re going to learn things as you play and perform in regular-season games that you’ve never had an opportunity to experience,” McDaniels said.
Belichick said Brissett will prepare as a starter, which means he has to be ready for any situation.
“I don’t know how you could — I mean you could take a defensive back and say, ‘OK, we’re only going to play you in dime situations, here’s your role this week,’ ” Belichick said. “But you can’t do that with a quarterback.”
Brady feels for Jimmy G
Tom Brady said it is certainly tough to watch football instead of play it, but he is keeping tabs on the Patriots from afar.
During an interview on Westwood One radio before the Monday night football game, Brady spoke highly of Garoppolo’s play.
“He was really firing the ball in there and being very accurate and decisive with his throws,’’ Brady said. “It was great to see. It was a tough injury. We were up 21 points when he got hurt. I’m glad we were able to close it out with the interception by Duron [Harmon] there at the end.”
Brady lauded Garoppolo, even on the play he was injured.
“He made a great play to escape the pocket and made a great throw on the run on a third-down play,’’ Brady said. “Linebacker hit him and landed on top of him. It’s a tough injury, especially a throwing shoulder. I feel for him but I know he’ll be back out there as soon as he can.”
Brady was asked about Garoppolo’s future in the NFL.
“I think that’s going to be decided by him,’’ Brady said. “He’s a very hard worker. I’m just proud of the way he led the team. I know he’ll be fighting hard to be out there this week.”
And what would an exclusive with Brady be without asking his thoughts on Thursday’s likely starter, Brissett?
“Jacoby’s done a great job taking advantage of his opportunity as well,’’ Brady said. “He went in there yesterday and showed a lot of poise. I loved working with him. I know our coaching staff will have him prepared and ready to go for Thursday night if he’s called upon . . . who knows, Jimmy may be out there so we’ll see how it goes.’’
The Patriots defense allowed just three first downs until the final minute of the second quarter against the Dolphins but got shredded for 310 yards in the second half.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler and the Texans present a bigger challenge.
“[Osweiler] can make all of the throws,” Patriots defensive end Chris Long said. “He must be about 6 foot 6, 250 pounds, so if you do get to him you’ve got to really wrap up and swarm.”
Osweiler, who is listed as 6-8, 235 pounds, beat the Patriots in overtime last season as a member of the Broncos. The Patriots sacked him three times, but he threw for 270 yards and a touchdown.
“Really impressed with his poise and his toughness,” Belichick said.
“He has been hit a few times, but he really hangs in there, keeps his eyes down field, sees the coverage well.”
Now, Osweiler has wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller and running back Lamar Miller at his disposal.
“I think the thing about him that they’ve done a great job of down in Houston is really kind of teaching him their system, getting him to make the reads, really kind of allow him to get the ball into their playmakers’ hands, spread it around, and have a good sense of what the defense is in ahead of time,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said.
No word from Hightower
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was in the locker room but would not take questions from the media. He wasn’t wearing a brace on his injured knee . . . Defensive end Chris Long said there’s no secret formula to get ready for a Thursday night game, but everything he normally does, including rest and nutrition, is done on a condensed schedule. “I just trick my mind into thinking it’s Thursday right now and we’re playing a Sunday night game and I’ll wake up tomorrow and it’ll be Friday,” Long said. Rookie left guard Joe Thuney said he’d started “breaking into the game plan” Monday. “It’s going to be a lot crammed into short amount of time,” Thuney said . . . Glenn Gronkowski, Rob Gronkowski’s younger brother, was among the players who worked out for the Patriots Monday . . . Center David Andrews and cornerback Malcolm Butler, who were both dinged up Sunday, showed no apparent signs of injury in the locker room Monday . . . Cornerback Eric Rowe walked with the aid of crutches.