By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are in a state of absolute chaos regarding their quarterback situation for Thursday night’s game against the Houston Texans … or that’s exactly what the organization wants us to believe.
Based on the high volume of conflicting reports that have been flying all around the football world since Sunday afternoon, it’s fair to believe at this point that Bill Belichick and his staff aren’t exactly disappointed to have sent so many mixed signals to the Texans, who had no real idea which quarterback they should be preparing to face all week long. They probably spent the bulk of their time preparing for rookie Jacoby Brissett, but given all that has crept out through the media, they must have been scrambling at least a little bit to prepare for all options.
If you went offline for even 90 minutes at any point this week, you missed another twist in the saga. So, to try to recap a hectic week in terms of following the story, here’s a timeline of events tracking all the big reports.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 2:11 p.m.: Kiko Alonso hits Jimmy Garoppolo. The quarterback remains down, drawing the attention of the trainers, before retreating to the locker room. He does not return to the game after going 18-for-26 for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
Sunday, 4:01 p.m.: Garoppolo is already at a hospital for evaluation, per Kevin Duffy of MassLive.com.
Sunday, 5:15 p.m.: The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that Garoppolo’s injury could take six weeks to heal. In light of this news, the Patriots “know” Garoppolo won’t play in Thursday night’s game vs. Houston.
Sunday, 7:57 p.m.: Garoppolo is reported to have a sprained AC joint, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Monday, Sept. 19, 9:06 a.m.: Mike Giardi of CSNNE reports that it was reasonable to believe that Garoppolo would be out for three to four weeks.
Tuesday, 10:40 a.m.: Bill Belichick gets feisty with a reporter who asks one too many questions about Garoppolo’s health, stating, “I’m a football coach, not a doctor. The medical staff’s the medical staff. I coach the team, medical people handle the injuries. They don’t call plays. I don’t do surgery. We have a great deal there. Works out good.”
Tuesday, 2:20 p.m.: Jimmy Garoppolo is absent from the portion of Patriots’ walkthrough practice that is open to the media. The media reports on his absence, as well as receiver Chris Hogan and tight end A.J. Derby looking like they were ready to play scout team QB at practice.
Tuesday, 4:45 p.m.: On the official injury report, Garoppolo was listed as a limited participant, meaning he must have arrived to the field after the media had left.
Tuesday, 6:54 p.m.: The Patriots are putting pressure on Garoppolo to play, “even reminding him Tom Brady played through a similar injury on multiple occasions throughout his career,” according to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 9:34 a.m.: Julian Edelman is preparing to be the Patriots’ backup QB, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.: Bill Belichick tells Zolak & Bertrand that the Patriots might not be sure of Garoppolo’s status until just before game time.
Wednesday, 5:07 p.m.: The Patriots list Garoppolo as doubtful for Thursday night’s game. This is almost always an indication that the player will not dress for the game.
Wednesday, 5:15 p.m.: Rapoport reiterates his report: Edelman is the backup QB for Thursday night.
Thursday, Sept. 22, 8:41 a.m.: CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran reports that Garoppolo’s AC sprain is a Grade 2 injury, meaning the damage is severe enough to keep him off the field this week and perhaps beyond.
Thursday, 10:42 a.m.: NFL Network’s Courtney Fallon reports that Jacoby Brissett will be the starting quarterback, while Garoppolo will suit up and be the backup.
Thursday, 11:58 a.m.: Mike Reiss contradicts Fallon’s report, stating that the Patriots do not plan on Garoppolo suiting up for the game.
And here’s a graphical assistant to some of that reporting, created by Matt Dolloff:
The Patriots and Texans will allegedly play Thursday night in Foxboro, if that’s even the town’s real name. Soon, the speculation will be over. Until next week.