Ever had a fridge full of leftovers nobody wanted to eat?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those meals. They were nutritious, and even delicious earlier in the week. Warm them up one more time, and they should satisfy your hunger.
But that doesn’t stop you from ordering takeout because you desire something fresh, new and more enticing.
Sometimes quarterbacks can be like that.
Jacoby Brissett, who owns a 12-20 record as a starter, is a leftover NFL quarterback. Just like the pot roast and pork chops sitting in the back of my fridge, there’s nothing wrong with him.
The six-year veteran is more than capable of carrying the Miami Dolphins while Tua Tagovailoa spends the next few weeks recovering from the rib injury he suffered in Sunday’s 35-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
The former Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer standout, a third-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2016, has started 32 of the 51 NFL games he’s played in during his career.
Starting 32 NFL regular-season games, which equated to two seasons before the league went to 17 games this year, is no easy task.
Only Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Dak Prescott have started more games as members of that 2016 quarterback draft class.
Josh Rosen, a 2018 first-round pick who the Dolphins foolishly traded for in 2019, has started just 16 games.
Dwayne Haskins, a 2019 first-round pick who’s on his second team in three seasons, also will be hard-pressed to start as many games as Brissett.
The point: draft status doesn’t get a player to 32 starts. Performance and reliability does.
Matt Moore, who spent 11 seasons in the NFL, seven of which were with the Dolphins, made exactly 32 starts. Moore went 16-16 in those starts, which includes six comebacks and eight game-winning drives.
That’s the bar for Dolphins backups the past two decades, in my mind.
If Brissett — who completed 24 of 40 passes for 169 yards with one interception in last week’s loss to the Bills — can deliver those types of heroic performances during his run as Miami’s starter, the 2021 season will stay afloat.
“I don’t think he’s an NFL starter. He’s a good backup, who is a good sounding board for the starter, and a really good locker room guy,” one NFL executive said this week. “The guys will initially play hard for him because they love him and his makeup. They like what he represents. But if it’s not wielding results, wins, it will run its course.”
But the same can be said for every quarterback, including Tagovailoa, but that discussion is for another day, another column.
What this franchise should be more worried about is its troublesome offensive line because Brissett has proven the job isn’t too big for him as a fill-in starter for the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts traded Phillip Dorsett, a former first-round pick, to New England to acquire Brissett before the 2017 season because of Andrew Luck’s shoulder injury.
Brissett quickly became Indianapolis’ starter, despite a limited knowledge of the offense, and threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns, with seven interceptions. He also rushed for 260 rushing yards and four touchdowns while leading that team to a 4-11 record.
When Luck returned in 2018, Brissett served as his backup, and that was on the horizon for him in 2019 before Luck abruptly retired weeks before the season started. Pleased with what the team had seen from training camp and the preseason, the Colts turned to Brissett to be their starter — signing him to a two-year, $30 million contracts, with $20 million guaranteed.
He led the Colts to a 7-8 record that season, one in which the Colts were decimated by injuries.
The next year Frank Reich had a chance to reunite with Philip Rivers, who he coached with the Chargers, and he took it. Rivers, a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, led the Colts to the playoffs while Brissett served as his backup.
As a free agent this past offseason, Brissett, who acts as his own agent, signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Dolphins, that has a base salary of $7.5 million, to be Tagovailoa’s backup and mentor.
While he wasn’t given the opportunity to compete with Tagovailoa during OTAs and training camp — having never worked with the first-team offense — he made it a habit of helping the second-team offense excel, no matter what personnel he was working with or who was protecting him on the offensive line.
The hope is he’ll have the same impact on Miami’s struggling first-team offense while Tagovailoa is sidelined.
Brissett has made it clear that he doesn’t view himself as a backup.
“That’s been my mentality since I got in the league,” said Brissett, who has thrown for 6,628 yards with 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions during his career. “I’ve been in situations where I honestly didn’t know when my chances and my opportunity was going to come. So I just wanted to make sure when I went out there I put my best foot forward and just stick with that mindset. It’s put me in good situations.”©2021 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.