Charlie Weis says Patriots ‘could have flipped a coin’ deciding between Tom Brady and Damon Huard

What could have been?

Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe, and Damon Huard chat during their 24-17 loss to the St Louis Rams in 2001.
Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe, and Damon Huard chat during their 24-17 loss to the St Louis Rams in 2001. –Winslow Townson/AP

Tom Brady has come a long way — his famous combine photo serves as proof. And it seems not even the New England Patriots knew what they had in Brady back in 2001 when he replaced Drew Bledsoe.

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was asked if Brady was primed and ready to supplant Bledsoe.

“[Brady] wasn’t better than Bledsoe,’’ Weis told Sports Illustrated’s Greg A. Bedard. “In fact, he wasn’t much better than [Damon Huard]. Bledsoe was clearly the starter. The No. 2 spot, that’s where the competition was. We could have flipped a coin to pick the second guy. We ended up picking Tommy — but it was really close.’’

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Bedard, who covered the Patriots for The Boston Globe for many years, tweeted he confirmed Weis’s statement with another source that Brady and Huard contended for the Patriots’ backup quarterback spot.

Even Brady remembers himself as a raw prospect.

“I always joke there was a reason I was the 199th pick, because I was never really in a way the most talented physically,’’ Brady said on WEEI on Jan. 11. “I lasted that long for a reason. So I’ve just tried to continue to find ways to improve. Every year I’m just trying to refine something and make it a little bit better, and trying to find areas in my game I can improve, whether it’s my throwing mechanics.’’

Brandon LaFell and Tony Gonzalez admitted “having a catch’’ with Brady was like a full-on practice. Brady’s work ethic and competitive fire has been touted by most pass-catchers, coaches, and opponents with which he’s come in contact.

“I use the example of Deion Branch and the hours of work he put in with [Brady],’’ former Patriots offensive coordinator and current Texans head coach Bill O’Brien told Bedard. “I’d say the same thing about [Rob] Gronkowski. During Gronk’s rookie year, [Brady] would keep that kid after practice for hours. We’d say, ‘Tom, you’re going to kill this guy.’’’

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Perhaps it’s a silly exercise, but it’s hard to imagine Huard throwing passes to Branch and Gronkowski, isn’t it?

h/t — NESN.com

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