The New England Patriots could find themselves in a weird spot when they face off with the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football in week three. With normal starting quarterback Tom Brady still serving a four-game suspension and top backup Jimmy Garoppolo doubtful to suit up due to a sprained AC joint, they may only enter the game with one active quarterback.

Backup Frenzy

One official quarterback, that is.

As it stands, no one knows for sure if Garoppolo’s shoulder will be okay enough for him to give it a go. However, considering he was in remarkable pain and could reportedly barely lift his throwing arm following the game, it’s highly unlikely he sees the field.

That puts raw rookie passer Jacoby Brissett front and center and also has the Pats one injury away from not having a quarterback at all. The team reportedly worked out veteran retreads T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree on Tuesday, but a signing doesn’t appear imminent.

Edelman as Insurance

Instead, New England may throw caution to the wind and start Brissett and use wide receiver Julian Edelman as their sole backup passer.

It’s fair to wonder what they’re thinking there, but this could actually be an amazing use of player versatility. Just like past years when receivers like Edelman and Troy Brown helped fill in for a depleted defensive backfield, here is another situation where a multi-talented player could be called upon to fill a different role.

For most players, stepping in as a quarterback when they play a different position seems crazy. Edelman, however, actually made it into the league in the first place by initially showcasing his immense ability as a dual threat quarterback at Kent State.

Nothing to Fear?

Brissett will probably be fine as the Patriots lean hard on running back LeGarrette Blount and the running game, but it’s fair to wonder what happens in the event he does get hurt. In would come Edelman, who does have experience playing the quarterback position in college and even continues to look back on a nice touchdown pass he had against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs a few years back.

Edelman certainly hasn’t played quarterback since college and wouldn’t be a traditional option, but one quick glance at his Kent State highlights shows how his talent can translate to the position:

There is no denying that against a very good Houston defense, even Brissitt or Garoppolo could have their hands full. Edelman would be switching back to a position he played for four years in college, however, and New England has undoubtedly put together plays in the past they feel good about running with him under center. In fact, had they not always had Tom Brady at their disposal, it’s fair to assume they would have used him in a dynamic passing role a lot sooner.

Betting Impact

There is upside and downside to Edelman being forced into action. He has the speed, experience and quick short area movement to be a real problem on short notice and he’s always been a true gamer. However, he hasn’t played the position full-time in years, did so at a low level of competition and doesn’t offer much in the way of size or arm strength. Edelman can be used on some gadget plays and if he’s needed for a series or two – fine.

Regardless of what happens, the Patriots might be a bad bet this week. Even at home, they’re likely going to be sporting a fairly one-dimensional and predictable offense against a very good 2-0 Houston squad. Former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is coaching for the Texans, too, and he knows a thing or two about the other side.

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