Bill Belichick Explains How Patriots Will Approach 2020 Season Without Tom Brady

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 8, 2020

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gives a signal to the team from the sideline in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The New England Patriots are entering their first 21st-century season without quarterback Tom Brady on the roster after the six-time Super Bowl champion left in free agency for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Head coach Bill Belichick, who has led the Pats since 2000, was asked about the team's approach this season without the three-time NFL MVP.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe provided the quotes, which referenced two seasons in which New England was forced to play without Brady.

"Well, we've played at other times without Tom, whether it was the (2008) season, after he was injured, played 15 games with [Matt Cassel], went 11-5. Or heading into the '16 season with [Jimmy Garoppolo] and then [Jacoby Brissett] and Tom coming back after the four-game suspension. So there have been other points in time we've dealt with that. 

"We'll do what we always do, is try to prepare this team the best we can, utilize our players, and the skills that they have and put ourselves in the best position we can to be competitive and win. That's what we always do and we'll continue to do that."

In 2008, Brady suffered a season-ending torn ACL and MCL in Week 1 following a hit from Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard. Matt Cassel came off the bench and completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions en route to leading the Pats to an 11-5 record. In a standings oddity that year, 11-5 wasn't good enough for New England to make the playoffs due to bad tiebreaker luck.

In 2016, Brady entered the season suspended four games due to his role in the Deflategate scandal. The Pats then turned to backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who started the first two games and helped lead the team to two wins. However, Garoppolo suffered a sprained AC joint in Week 2, and New England then turned to third-stringer Jacoby Brissett.

The Pats went 1-1 in Brissett's starts and finished a respectable 3-1 without Brady. Upon his return, New England steamrolled the competition, going 14-1 in its final 15 games (including playoffs) en route to a Super Bowl win.

But this season marks the first year in two decades that Brady will not play any games for the Pats, and that's uncharted territory for Belichick.

Second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, veteran Brian Hoyer and undrafted rookie free agent J'Mar Smith round out the quarterback chart, with Stidham expected to start.