There's only one certainty about the Thursday night quarterback status for New England: Tom Brady won't be in the building.
But after Jimmy Garoppolo exited Sunday's win over Miami with an AC sprain in his shoulder, rookie Jacoby Brissett came on in relief and will likely start against the Texans at Gillette Stadium. Even though it would be start number one as a pro, the Texans said they're not taking anything for granted with the young signal-caller.
"He has really good poise, very smart guy," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's got good size; he's like 235 pounds. He's a good football player. When we evaluated him in the draft, we felt the same way
Brady is out until Week 5 because of a four-game suspension by the NFL. Garoppolo started the first two games of 2016 in place of the 2-time NFL MVP.
The Texans defense hasn't allowed a touchdown over the last six quarters of play, and is looking to continue that success in Foxborough. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph said their plans and preparation won't change much, whether it's Brissett or Garoppolo under center.
"Obviously, you can't prepare for both of them because you would overdue yourself on a short week," Joseph said. "I think you just have to go out there, stick to your game plan, and execute what we do on defense for us."
Fellow cornerback Charles James, II agreed, and said the weapons around whoever plays quarterback for the Patriots are a big factor in their prep.
"He's on a good team," James said. "I can't really buy into that too much, him just being a rookie, because a rookie can also go out there and do some great things. It's one of those things that we're going to prepare for him just like he's a guy that could do a lot of bad things to us."
Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who in two games this year has a pair of sacks, along with a forced fumble and fumble recovery, said the Texans will need to harass whoever lines up at quarterback for the Patriots.
"Try to get them rattled from the start, especially with young quarterbacks, guys who don't have a lot of experience," Mercilus said. "Try to get them guessing and all that and get them antsy in the pocket."
Brissett completed 6-of-9 pass attempts for 92 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown or an interception in the New England win over the Dolphins. Brissett was taken in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft after throwing for more than a combined 5,000 yards the last two seasons at North Carolina State.
Check out the best photos from Sunday's game vs. the Chiefs!