With Tom Brady’s suspension on the horizon, it appears that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the New England Patriots starting quarterback in Weeks 1 through 4. In today’s post, we’ll make a case for Jimmy G. to be the Patriots starter in Week 5 as well. The majority of Patriots Nation will think this idea is ridiculous, but we ask these fans to take the Tom Brady goggles off for a few minutes and think of the best interest of the team. Remember, the Patriots are about winning football games. This is not to suggest that Garoppolo will outperform Tom Brady. It’s simply looking ahead to what may be in the best interest of the team.
For starters, we don’t know how Garoppolo will play when he takes over in the first four weeks. There are many fans in Patriots Nation that think that a 2-2 start would be great under the circumstances. There are others who believe they can still go 3-1 or even 4-0 with Garoppolo. After all, this team may be the best in the NFL on paper.
If Garoppolo plays poorly or even just average in Weeks 1 through 4, then Brady will likely step right in as the starter in Week 5. This would be a scenario where the Patriots are losing games because of the play at the quarterback position and need to desperately make a change. Case closed if Jimmy G. isn’t good.
What if Garoppolo plays very well or even great? That’s where this gets interesting. Here’s why. For starters, the Patriots have been known to stick with what’s working. They’re a team build on a system and not individual players. With that said, we’re talking about one of the greatest players of all time. Would the system not apply to Brady because of his greatness? Perhaps they would make an exception. But, again, a lot depends on Garopollo’s performance.
On top of that, Tom Brady isn’t going to be allowed to be in contact with the Patriots for four weeks during his suspension. Not only can he not practice, he won’t be part of game plans, and be involved in any discussions with the Patriots regarding preparation. It will be as if he’s not on the team. If Garoppolo plays very well and the Patriots start 3-1 or even 4-0, would they rush Brady back after three days of practice and film after missing a four weeks?
Remember, as much as Patriots fans want to ignore his age, Tom Brady will be 39 years old when the season starts. There’s a reason why everyone in the NFL gets 4-6 weeks of preparation before the regular season starts. The game requires a lot of preparation both physically and mentally. Brady will certainly keep himself in shape. There’s no concern there. Would Brady have a greater chance of injury if he’s rushed back? Possibly. Having said that, this is Tom Brady and if anyone can do it, it’s him. Having said all of that, isn’t the goal to have Brady performing well and healthy into the postseason and not Week 5?
Another point in favor of Garoppolo playing in Week 5 is that the Patriots are playing on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots should beat the Browns with ease regardless of who the quarterback is. They’re a far superior team. Perhaps the Patriots could give Brady some reps in the game to prepare him more for Week 6? Remember how they handled Rob Gronkowski when he was coming back from injury? They took no chances and eased him back in.
If Brady comes back as the starter in Week 6 at home against the Bengals, he would get a full two weeks of practice, game film, and preparation. It would be a like Christmas for the Patriots fans as well since he would have his first game back at home against a legitimate opponent in the Bengals. The Patriots wouldn’t make a decision based on this point, but it’s a much more meaningful game.
The Patriots open up against the Cardinals in Arizona. The reality is that would be a tough game for the Patriots to win even with Tom Brady. The Pats then come home to face the Dolphins, Texans, and Bills. These are all games the Patriots should win. A 3-1 start with Cleveland next on the schedule gives Brady another week to prepare.
This wouldn’t mean there is a quarterback controversy. It’s not about that. We’re talking about the best interest of the team. Jimmy G. would need to play at an elite level for that discussion to even be entertained.
If Jimmy Garoppolo starts in Week 5 it will mean the Patriots are off to a very good start to the season and will have one of the best quarterbacks in the league waiting in the wings. It would mean that the Patriots have two elite quarterbacks. Win, win for everyone…especially Bill Belichick.