On September 10th, the New England Patriots will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2015/16 season opener. That’s set in stone. What’s not is who will be starting under centre for the Patriots following “deflategate”.
There’s a very good chance it will be New England’s 2nd pick in the 2014 draft, Jimmy Garoppolo. So I wanted to take a look at the new dreamboat (yes dreamboat, have you seen that guys smile?!) in the AFC East.
Garoppolo was the quarterback of Eastern Illinois for 4 years and led the panthers to back-to-back conference championships in his junior and senior years. During the panther’s 2013 season when they went 8-0, Garoppolo won the Walter Payton Award for most outstanding player in the FCS. He also broke Tony Romo’s school record for most TD’s. Not bad for the 62nd pick in the draft.
On to his first pre-season with the Patriots, Garoppolo threw 46 of 79 (58% completion) for 618 yards (7.8 yards per attempt) for 5 TD’s and 1 INT.
In the regular season, he didn’t see that much real action but did feature prominently in the week 4 loss to the Chiefs, against Chicago in week 8 and against the Bills in week 17. He threw 19 for 27 (70%) for 182 yards(6.7 yd per attempt) for 1 TD and 0 INT. Now that’s a 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio with a 99.0 passer rating.
Belichick identified the Patriots turnaround point last season as the second half against the Chiefs which Garoppolo played the whole of.
In addition, Garoppolo can run plays like the read option and QB outside run which the Pats can’t do with Brady under centre. I am sure that this is the type of situation which Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator for New England, relishes. Don’t forget that he got Matt Cassel to a 11-5 record in 2008, the last time Brady missed real game time.
There are comments by the public about how this reminds of Brady’s dethroning of Bledsoe in 2001 but that’s not happening anytime soon.
Words coming out of others commenting on Garoppolo are “consistent” and “professional”. These are words which Patriots fans (including myself) will be hoping we can still use about the 6’2’’ 226lb QB after week 4.