No Brady, no problem.
If you haven’t heard, the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, has decided to uphold Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. This means second-year pro Jimmy Garoppolo will most likely be managing the Patriots offense for the first quarter of the season.
Garoppolo was a relatively unknown quarterback when drafted last year from Eastern Illinois University, an FCS program and the alma mater of current Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo.
Garoppolo started his career at EIU rather poorly, with a 4-15 record. But he then had a complete turnaround, throwing for 53 touchdown passes and over 5,000 yards his senior year.
Despite his video game-caliber statistics, the fact that EIU was not a very well-known or recruited school hurt his legitimacy. However, after receiving heavy praise from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about his play in last year’s training camp and preseason, he started to become more of a familiar face.
Here is how Garoppolo can help the Patriots.
Last season, Garoppolo did show some promise in his two main appearances against Kansas City and Buffalo, boasting around a 70-percent completion rate. He is a typical pocket passer with a frame ideal for a quarterback.
He has an obnoxiously fast release, probably even faster than Brady. That plays in perfectly for the offense that the Patriots run. They like to run short- to mid-range passes, utilizing their tight end and big-time slot receivers, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.
Garoppolo is also a more mobile quarterback than Tom Brady. While he is no speed demon, the team’s offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, can incorporate some read option and have the ability to call more roll-outs with him on the field.
Finally, he has the ability to execute in a two-minute offense. At EIU, he led a 100-percent no-huddle offense that was part of one of the fastest scoring offenses in the country. Because of this, he has the ability to operate under any sort of time restraints and still keep his composure.
Despite all of Garoppolo’s attributes, he still has many flaws that can bring the team down.
First off, he has barely any experience. Apart from minimally playing in his first season, he hasn’t played against many NFL-caliber players, coming from a small school in EIU. Because of this, he is probably not accustomed to the speed of the game and players in the NFL.
According to boston.com, Garoppolo has struggled quite a bit in training camp. He has been holding on to the ball for too long at times and hasn’t been in sync with his receivers. Hopefully, for the Patriots, this will change as Garoppolo gets a hang of the offense.
Ultimately, the positive attributes do outweigh the flaws, and that is why Garoppolo will be a good temporary fit for the Patriots. All he has to do is be a game manager and get the ball out quick, which is what he does best. He just has to put Edelman and the other playmakers in positions where they can operate in open space.
Garoppolo will also likely be able to rely on run support from LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Boldon, Jonas Gray and Tyler Gaffney. If he can get the Patriots through the first quarter of the season with a 3-1 record, he will be loved by each and every Patriot supporter. And I believe he has the ability to do that.
Contact Pranav Iyer at brettfavre2000 ‘at’ gmail.com.