The New England Patriots’ have announced that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the team’s starting quarterback for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season after Tom Brady’s four-game suspension regarding the “Deflategate” scandal was reinstated by The US Second Court of Appeals at the end of April. Although some thought Brady may appeal the decision further up to the US Supreme Court, he made a statement shortly after the ruling saying that he would not fight the suspension any longer.
“It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process,” Brady said in a statement. “I’m going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall.”
This decision clears the way for Garoppolo to be an NFL starting quarterback for the Patriots’ first four games of this season, and marks the quarterback’s first true test of whether or not he has the talents to be a starting quarterback in this league. While seeing glimpses of Garoppolo’s success in garbage time or in preseason games, fans have often wondered how Garoppolo would stack up if he had Brady’s job. Well, now those fans will get their chance to find out.
Garoppolo hasn’t had much experience in the NFL. He’s thrown just 31 passes in two seasons as the Patriots’ backup quarterback. But in the limited time he’s been on the field, Garoppolo has shown he can have an impact running with the ball or throwing downfield. This adds a new element to the quarterback position that the Patriots could toy with in the first four games of the season, as Brady isn’t considered a running quarterback. Garoppolo has received a lot of attention in the past few weeks since it was clear he’d be the starter for part of this season. His former coach at Eastern Illinois University, Dino Babers, had high praise for his former QB.
“Jimmy Garoppolo was the William Tell, to me, of college football,” Babers said in an interview with ESPN. “I’ve never seen a quarterback that could hit exactly what he was throwing at. I’m not talking about putting it on a guy’s body, you put your hand out there and he’s sticking the ball right in the middle of your palm…I’m just telling you, this young man is exceptional. If Bill Belichick put a second-round draft pick on him, he knows what he’s doing.”
Indeed, the Patriots’ coaching staff has been asked a lot about Garoppolo since he was named the apparent starter for these first four games. These games against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, and Buffalo Bills, respectively, will not be easy (no NFL game is). However, it is clear that the coaching staff of the Patriots are confident in Garoppolo’s abilities, and won’t be changing much in the way of how the team practices or prepares.
“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,” Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We usually split them up pretty evenly. We don’t really put anybody in first and second groups, or third groups, at this point.”
Even opposing coaches have been singing the praises of Garoppolo. Here’s the Head Coach of the New York Jets, the Patriots’ division rival, on Garoppolo and the team:
“Garoppolo can play,” Todd Bowles told the New York Daily News. “They don’t worry about who they have. They just have a system in place and they go play football. I think people underestimate that. You still have to knock off the champs. It’s theirs until somebody takes it from them.”
It seems as if there are high expectations on Garoppolo, but based on how much talent he’s shown and how his peers in the NFL view him, it seems likely that the young QB could live up to them. Garoppolo has a chance to prove he is a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, which may even land him an opportunity to start on a team other than New England in the future. All that Garoppolo has to focus on now is the start of the season and getting ready to play in a role that he hasn’t held since college. The Patriots’ regular season starts on Sunday, September 11th when the Patriots visit Arizona to face the Cardinals. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the Patriots and Garoppolo, so keep checking jimmygaroppolo.net for more news and updates!