The Garoppolo Experiment

The Garoppolo Experiment

On Wednesday, it was announced that the Federal Court had reject the New England Patriots’ Quaterback, Tom Brady’s appeal against a 4 game suspension for his actions in the whole Deflategate incident during the 2014 play-off game against the Indianapolis Colts. I’m sure you’re all tired of the story by now and what Brady did/didn’t do that fateful night at Foxborough; but here we look at the consequences for the first 4 games of the 2016 season. That means Jimmy Garoppolo under centre for the Patriots, and all might not be as doom and gloom as you might think without one of the best Quarterbacks to ever play the game.

The Patriots and their temporary starting signal caller face a daunting prospects in their season opener, when they travel to the NFC West Champions Arizona Cardinals and their mean defense which includes former Patriot Chandler Jones. The 2014 2nd round pick, Garoppolo, will be up against the odds with the likes of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in the Cardinal’s secondary, ready to pounce on even the smallest of mistakes. Then with the aforementioned Jones and Calais Campbell giving the young Quarterback less and less time to think before making his move, it has the potential to get really ugly given the massive step down that Garoppolo will inevitably be from Tom Brady.

But fear not Patriot fans, despite the uphill task in Week 1, this is quickly followed by a home triple-header against the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. Make no mistake, these will most certainly not be easy games for the young Quarterback, but they’re far from the daunting task of playing an NFC Heavyweight away from home. These teams were all fairly middling last year, and may very well end up lurking around .500 again, although the Texans look like they may be able to take the next step if Brock Osweiler can play well at Quarterback. But the Bills and Dolphins will definitely be targets for Garoppolo to get wins on the board and keep the Patriots ticking over until Brady gets back.

Focusing on Garoppolo a little more, he has yet to start a Regular Season NFL game, although he has had fleeting appearances when Brady has been temporarily injured or under-performed, and done himself no harm with 188 Yards and a Touchdown to his name. Belichick has already confirmed that the Patriots won’t be adapting their system specifically for Garoppolo, and will remain with a quick release, short pass scheme that has been so successful for the past decade. The reports coming out of the New England camp is that Garoppolo already looks natural in the system, whilst splitting first team reps with Brady, and he’s now had over 2 seasons to study the playbook and it’s finer nuances so I doubt that it will be a problem.

Overall, I think that Garoppolo will fare perfectly fine being the stand-in for Brady and may even surprise a few people with what he can do having control of an NFL offence, given his pre-season and temporary regular season showings. Even Brady would have trouble with the 2016 version of the Arizona Cardinals, so I’m sure if they were to come out of the first 4 games at 3-1 or 2-2 then “Jimmy G” would get a warm thanks and a tip of the cap. Then who knows, maybe a team that’s desperate for a Quarterback come calling in the off-season to give him the keys to their offence on a full-time basis. Sorry most NFL fans, the Patriots are going come out of this in reasonable shape.

Image Copyright: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Finney

I'm Blake, and I'm a big Washington Redskins fan despite their best efforts to put me off the first few years I watched NFL. You may find me either swearing at a computer or standing in a baseball field.

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