I rescind my comments last week that Jimmy Garoppolo is not the second coming of Christ. The Patriots’ backup quarterback got off to an unbelievable start, putting New England up 21-0 in the first half against the Miami Dolphins. Jimmy G went for 234 yards while completing 67 percent of his passes for a jaw-dropping 130.8 rating. If you had told me before the game that Garoppolo would suffer an injury, I would have been willing to put serious money on Ndamakong Suh as the perpetrator. Fortunately for Suh’s already tarnished reputation, Kiko Alonso was the culprit. Alonso took Garoppolo to the ground on a clean hit after the play, but rolled up on Jimmy’s shoulder, and ultimately sprained the AC joint on his throwing shoulder, according to reports from NESN. The timetable for Garoppolo indicates that he will not be ready for
Thursday night’s game against the Texans.
In his stead, rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett took the reins for the Patriots’ offense. Brissett tallied 92 yards while completing 67 percent of his passes in Garoppolo’s absence. Brissett barely managed to string together a couple scoring drives, with LeGarrette Blount showing up in an uncharacteristic way to save the team. Blount managed to accumulate 123 yards on 29 carries. The Patriots’ offensive line offered a surprisingly well-protected pocket for Brissett, though Josh McDaniels called a basic play package for Brissett, which consisted of quick throws, and single-read options.
Looking ahead to Thursday night’s game against Houston, one can only fear for the life of Brissett. The NC State alum will be making his official debut against a front four that features perennial MVP candidate J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Wilfork and Brian Cushing. Odds are, he’s going to take a few hits, and while I am by no means rooting for an injury, I would be lying if I said I am not hoping former Kent State quarterback Julian Edelman gets the nod at some point. Edelman’s most recent pass was of course the momentum-changing 51-yard pass to Danny Amendola in the 2014-2015 AFC divisional round against the Baltimore Ravens.
According to currently suspended quarterback Tom Brady, “[Edelman] still talks about that touchdown pass he threw against Baltimore a few years ago.” Aside from my desire to see Edelman take snaps from under center for the sake of entertainment value, I think there is a good case to be made that Edelman has a better understanding of the offense than Brissett. Since joining the team in 2011, Edelman has made significant strides in a system that is notoriously difficult for receivers to learn. To assume that Brissett has a solid understanding of the offense after a mere four months with the playbook would be to vastly underestimate the time needed to learn an NFL offense. It was apparent throughout the second half that Brissett’s play calls were limited. On the flip side, pushing Edelman to quarterback would also take the Patriots’ number one receiving threat off the field.
Reports have surfaced that Garoppolo may be ready to play by Thursday night, despite the previously estimated three to four week recovery time. Patriots’ personnel have reportedly taken to peer pressure tactics by informing Garoppolo that Brady played through similar injuries multiple times during his career. Given this info, it is doubtful we’ll ever get the chance to see Edelman’s return under center. Still, I would be looking for him or the Play60 kid on the sideline “just loosening [their] arms.”