And taking the field as the starting quarterback for THE New England Patriots.......Jimmy Garoppolo?
Tom Brady will most assuredly not take the field for the first four games of the season. This comes after failing to get his 4-game suspension overturned. As Patriots fans wreak havoc on Goodell and the NFL, it is time take a look at what is most important; his nearly-as-handsome replacement.
Jimmy Garoppolo is a third-year quarterback out of Eastern Illinois University. The ex-Panther will be leading the New England Patriots onto the field in week one against the homerun-hitting Arizona Cardinals. He will also quarterback three home games against the Dolphins, Texans, and Bills.
For people that don't know much about Jimmy G, here are some of his accolades and achievements at EIU.
- Four-year starter who broke Tony Romo's school record for most touchdowns in a career.
- Garoppolo won the 2013 Walter Payton Award for most outstanding player in FCS.
- Led Eastern Illinois to back-to-back conference championships, including 8-0 2013 season.
- Beat San Diego State (an FBS school) on the road.
- Career stats: 1,047-1,668; 62.7% completion, 13,156 yards, 118 TDs, 51 interceptions
Garoppolo's first area of concern will undoubtedly be his lack of NFL experience. He currently is sporting a career line of 20-31, 186 yards, 1 TD. That right there is about a half a game from Tom Terrific. Quarterback is a difficult position to learn in the NFL. It often takes time for quarterbacks to develop into steady players. Making a read in the NFL often means making multiple reads in one play. Fortunately for Garoppolo, he is a smart kid with a natural quick release.
Former NFL backup quarterback and EIU alum Jeff Christensen talked about Garoppolo and his lightning quick release before the draft in 2014. "It's not even debatable. Jimmy easily has the quickest release in this draft. He's 10-15% ahead of where Romo was at 22." Christensen, who worked with Garoppolo during his tenure at EIU, had more to say. "I raised Jimmy under the auspices of Dan Marino, whose feet were always at the right angle quicker than anybody else's so he could pull the trigger..."
So there you go Patriots fans. He's got great feet and a quick release. We're on the fast track to 4-0! Well, it's not that easy. Even though his sample size is small, there have been struggles to Garoppolo's game so far. In the last game of the 2014-15 regular season, Garoppolo got the call in a meaningless game against the Buffalo Bills. Although he finished 10-17, he was constantly under pressure and never looked quite comfortable. He was sacked 3 times for a whopping 19 yards. His total QBR for the game was a miniscule 15.1. He didn't have the starting offensive line or Gronk and Edelman, which hurt, but there were still times that he held the ball too long, resulting in either an incompletion or a sack. Jimmy did a great job in college at getting the ball out early and often. He needs to translate that success from the college to the NFL level.
One promising aspect of Garoppolo's small sample is the unique ability he has to escape pressure with his feet.
If Garoppolo can combine his feet and instincts with a better combination of timing and throwing, he could be more than enough to keep the Patriots afloat. After all, the Patriots didn't draft Garoppolo to be a backup. They drafted him because he is going to take #12's spot in the lineup one day. And now, that day has come, even if it's only for four weeks.
PERKINS' PREDICTIONS and PROJECTIONS
Game 1 @ Arizona Cardinals : LOSS 31-24; Garoppolo: 240 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
Game 2 vs. Miami Dolphins : WIN 28-17; Garoppolo: 265 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT.
Game 3 vs. Houston Texans : WIN 24-23; Garoppolo: 250 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INT
Game 4 vs. Buffalo Bills : WIN 23-20; Garoppolo: 220 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT