-- FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Leaving no opening for the possibility of a quarterback controversy, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick commented publicly for the first time on Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension to open the season.
"We had, finally, some definition with Tom's situation, so our priority now is to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the start of the season, for the Arizona game [Sept. 11]. That will be, obviously, a comprehensive process," Belichick said Wednesday in opening remarks of a news conference to kick off training camp. "Tom will return as the starting quarterback when he comes back, but in the meantime, we have to prioritize the first part of our schedule, and that will be to get Jimmy ready to go."
Belichick declined to go into detail on how the team planned to proceed, saying simply, "It's day-to-day. We'll do what we think is best, that's the priority."
Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels fielded several questions on how the quarterback repetitions will be divided in practice.
"This is really the time of the year where we really try to provide everyone with their foundation for the whole year, so our philosophy really is going to remain unchanged for a while here, in terms of repetitions. We usually split them up pretty evenly. We don't really put anybody in first and second groups, or third groups, at this point," he said.
"What we really try to focus on is getting everybody opportunities to work on their fundamentals and techniques, and to work with the different players on our team because we don't know right now who's going to be doing what six, seven weeks from now.
"They're both going to get plenty of reps, and so is Jacoby [Brissett]. We're going to do what we've normally done in the past ... all those guys have things we can get better at, and we're excited to coach them all and to work with every one of them."
When asked if the Patriots might consider adding a fourth quarterback, McDaniels deferred to Belichick, who hinted that that wasn't likely to happen at this time.
"I think we have a good situation. We have three players we want to work with," Belichick said. "Around the league, look at some other years, I've seen teams that probably don't feel like they have anybody, or maybe they have one. I think we're in a good situation. We'll just see how it plays out."