BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots have had two different starting quarterbacks through their first three games of the season, and neither had any career starts heading into the year.
But the Patriots are still 3-0 and atop the AFC East, despite the absence of Tom Brady under center. Boomer Esiason of WFAN and CBS' The NFL Today previously predicted the Pats would go 16-0 this season, and said the Patriots can point to one man for their unprecedented early-season success during his weekly call into Toucher & Rich on Monday morning.
"It's a great coach in Bill Belichick. He's a guy who sets the course for the entire franchise. He is one of very few coaches that has autonomy, not just on picking the players but picking the coaching staff and running the game the way he wants it," said Boomer. "Of course, he has two really downright great assistants in Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels."
The Patriots knew they'd have to have someone other than Brady at quarterback to start the season, and Jimmy Garoppolo was impressive until a shoulder injury knocked him out of the first half of Week 2. Not many teams would have their rookie third-stringer ready to go on such short notice, but Boomer said the Patriots have been preparing Jacoby Brissett since he first arrived in April.
"They always have a backup plan in case a kid like him has to play, and what we saw Thursday is what I thought we'd see; a couple of plays no one had seen before specifically tailored to him, one of them the touchdown run," Boomer said of New England's 27-0 win over the Texans. "The defense did what they always do at Gillette Stadium, that's the rope-a-dope. They've done it to Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and any quarterback that has come in there. When you have a $72 million Brock Osweiler who is under pressure to perform, Matt Patricia and Bill Belichck went with their base defense and didn't get too exotic, waiting for the kid to make a mistake.
"It's quite boring and quite simple, but damn is it really effective. It's gotten the best of the quarterbacks in the league and I think that's what we saw Thursday night," added Boomer.
Esiason also touched on Garoppolo's shoulder injury, a sprained AC joint, which he suffered during his college days at Maryland. He said dealing with the injury is all about pain management.
"It could get worse. Probably what's going on with him right now, it's probably very stiff," he said. "It's a very annoying and frustrating injury... If he does play [Sunday against Buffalo], he'll be playing with a lot of pain, that's for sure."
Boomer also touched on Sunday's slate of games, including Buffalo's first win of the season over the disappointing 1-2 Arizona Cardinals. They also discussed Rex Ryan's obsession with Patriots:
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