The Washington Commanders have added veteran leadership to their quarterback room by signing Jacoby Brissett. Here are five things to know about the new signal-caller.
1. He finds unique ways to encourage his teammates.
It is always important for a starting quarterback to bond with their teammates. For some, that could be buying them extravagant gifts or taking them out for a weekly dinner.
Brissett took a different route when he was playing at N.C. State. He wrote letters to all of his teammates on offense.
"It just stuck with me," Brissett said in a 2014 interview with ESPN. "A lot of them keep the letters. I know one week I didn't write letters because I talked to the whole offense together and everybody was curious why they didn't get a letter. It's funny to see they actually pay attention to it."
Sometimes Brissett would write words of encouragement. For other players, it would be a joke. But no matter what each player got, they all appreciated the effort.
"For me and my roommate, it touched us both and showed us how serious he was about the games, and it showed he had faith in us," said senior receiver Bryan Underwood.
2. He makes sure his linemen have plenty of dessert.
Any quarterback knows that much of their success is a credit to the offensive line. Sure, the quarterbacks make all the plays, but were it not for their starting five acting as a protective barrier against pass-rushers, life would be much more difficult for them.
Brissett is aware of that fact, so he made sure his offensive linemen at N.C. State knew how much he appreciated them by keeping them fed.
"I'd give them chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes," Brissett told USA Today in 2015. "It's not that hard. And if it's burnt, just make it again."
Judging by how Brissett played during his two seasons with the Wolf Pack, his offensive line appreciated the sweets and took care of him. In 2014, he was one of three Power 5 quarterbacks with 2,000 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, 20 passing TDs and five or fewer interceptions. He also ranked ninth in program history with 23 career touchdown passes, 15th with 221 career completions.
3. His commitment to his teammates goes back to his college days.
Brissett wants his teammates to know that he will always be there to support them, even if it requires a few hours of driving.
Brissett transferred to N.C. State from the University of Florida in 2012, but because of NCAA rules, he was not allowed to suit up or travel with the team in 2013.
So, because he wanted to establish a relationship with his teammates, Brissett had an idea: he would drive himself to games just to be on the sideline with them.
Brissett traveled to every game except for Boston College, and while N.C. State did not have a difficult road schedule in terms of distance in 2013, it was an example of how far Brissett was willing to go (literally) to be a leader for his teammates.
4. He wants to have a positive impact off the field.
Brissett wants to make an impact, both on and off the field, and use his platform to positively influence the community around him. That starts with his interest in social justice, and he was one of the driving forces in the Indianapolis Colts' locker room back in 2020 when it came to raising awareness on the topic.
During the Colts' bye week that season, he hosted a Zoom call with African American civil rights leader Dr. Ben Chavis for his teammates.
"Everyone who's on this call is in the fight for the right reasons," Brissett said during the call. "We come together right now to collaborate ideas and plans, and to hear from somebody who's been there and done that, who has some of the answers we're looking for."
Brissett was also nominated at the Colt's Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee that year for several initiatives, including his work with the Indianapolis Public School System. For the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats' campaign, he chose to support the Urban League, which is dedicated to helping people of color and underserved individuals achieve social and economic equality.
So, on top of doing everything he can to help the Commanders win on the field, Brissett will also do his part to help the team win in the DMV community.
5. He is excited to work with Sam Howell.
Although Brissett will have an opportunity to compete, Sam Howell is expected to be "QB1" heading into offseason workouts. Brissett is looking forward to that opportunity, but that does not supersede his desire to be a good teammate to the second-year quarterback.
"Being a good teammate will trump anything, and that's been the case, no matter my role, throughout my career," Brissett said. "Just finding ways to help each other get better for our own benefit, but also our room, for our offense and also for this team."
Brissett knows the positive impact a veteran presence can have on a young quarterback, because he has experienced that himself. He had the opportunity to learn from players like Tom Brady and Andrew Luck during his time with the Patriots and Colts, respectively. Every quarterback he has played with wants to compete, but they all understand how important it is to elevate each other.
"We're all going out there competing against each other," Brissett said. "Not only does that make us better, but it makes the team better. It makes the offense better."
Howell will be given every opportunity to earn the job himself, but regardless of who is the starter for Week 1, the expectation is that the Commanders will have a solid quarterback room in 2023.