According to Adam Schefter, Jimmy Garoppolo is unable to play today and Jacoby Brissett will get his 2nd NFL start.
Gotta say, I’m surprised that Jimmy G isn’t going. It seems like he’s able to throw the ball well enough on short passing plays, which is what the Pats offense does best. And even if he re-injured himself today and was unable to play for the next 4-6 weeks or so, who cares? TB12 is back after this, so I’m surprised that Garoppolo didn’t force his way into the lineup.
Actually, I’d bet that Garoppolo tried to do exactly that but was shut down by Belichick and the medical staff. Garoppolo knows that this would likely be his last time playing this year outside of garbage time. Alas, he’s sitting out. Belichick has seen 2 quarterbacks get dinged up in the first 3 weeks of the season, and he wants to make sure he has the best backup QB in the league available in case the same fate happens to Brady.
Also, I’d bet that Belichick has Garoppolo’s trade value somewhere in the back of his head when the Pats made their inactives decisions today. Garoppolo currently has 6 amazing quarters under his belt this season, and his value is at an all time high. If he struggled today, regardless of his injury, his value might drop. Bill always has that next level thinking.
When it comes to today’s game against the Bills, Belichick is probably signaling that the deep ball will be important to the Pats’ offense today. Garoppolo’s arm strength would have been a major question, and Rex Ryan would have taken advantage of that by tempting Jimmy G to throw the long ball.
The Bills are 22nd in the league in passing yards given up per game, and giving them the ability to forgo defending the long ball is an advantage that they need not have. Brissett may not have 2 perfect thumbs today, but at least there’s the chance of him throwing deep.
Regardless, it’s just 1 more week until we get the GOAT back. Happy Sunday.
The 2008 New England Patriots season sucked, at least by the standards that we’re used to in New England. It was 1 of 2 seasons out of 15 when they didn’t make the playoffs, an 8-8 team played January football but the 11-5 Pats didn’t, and we got to watch Tom Rrady for exactly 2 drives all season.
But we learned some things about the Patriots. We learned that anyone who thought that Belichick’s success had been entirely due to Tom Brady was a moron. We also got to see a good estimate of how good a quarterback has to play for the Patriots to still be a playoff team. They may not have made the postseason that year, but an 11-5 record in a season with inflated records in the AFC East is a pretty good indicator of where the line of demarcation is for whether or not a team makes the playoffs.
Therefore, we need Jimmy garoppolo to measure up to Matt Cassel in order to the Pats to stay on a playoff pace. They could still make the postseason if Garroplo was a lot worse and the Pats went 1-3 without Brady, because TB12 is TB12. But given how important homefield advantage is for the Pats, we need to hope for more.
Matt Cassel put up almost 3700 yards, 21 TDs, 11 picks, a 63.4% completion percentage, an 89.4 passer rating, and he threw on 270 rushing yards for good measure. Cassel also averaged 7.16 yards per passing attempt, and the Pats as a whole averaged 6.7 Garoppolo is only slated to play a quarter of the season, so we can knock those numbers down to 925 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs, and the same 63.4% and 89.4 completion percentage and passer rating, respectively.
However, we need to account for the fact that the quarterbacks and passing attacks have gotten a lot better in the NFL over the past 8 years. In 2008, the median yards per team passing play was 6.4, and in 2015 it was 6.7. The median passing completion percentage in 2008 was 60.45%, while it was 63.08% in 2015. That means that 2008 New England was about 0.3 yards per passing attempt better than league average with Cassel, and Cassel put up a completion percentage that was about 3% better than league average.
So let’s say Garoppolo performs beats league average by the same margins that Cassel does. That would put the Pats at 7.0 yards per passing play and a 66.4% completion percentage. Those seem like some lofty standards, but that’s where the NFL passing game is right now.
Garoppolo had a 72.7% completion percentage, and the Pats averaged 7.8 yards per passing play. That means that Garoppolo is already ahead of pace from what Matt Cassel laid out, which is something I think we all expected anyway.
Really, though, why does it matter how much better Garoppolo is than Cassel? If The Pats can just get enough good play and enough luck for New England to go 3-1 without Brady, isn’t that all that matters?
Not so much. Matt Cassel provides another barometer for Garoppolo and the Patriots: The Kansas City Chiefs traded the 34th overall pick for Cassel, and Cassel was a former 7th rounder who still carried doubts about whether or not he would succeed without an amazing team like the Patriots around him. Bill Belichick will look to trade Garoppolo after the season — when Jimmy G has 1 year left on his deal — and he’ll want a bigger return than the 34th pick.
How much better Garoppolo plays than Cassel determines just how high that return is. If Jimmy G continues that line of 7.8 yards per passing play (and 8.0 yards per actual pass attempt) and keeps completing more than 7 out of every 10 passes, then 2 first round picks is in play as far as a trade haul. Matt Cassel set the trade market for a promising backup of Tom Brady, and it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo has a good shot of obliterating that market.
Odds are that you’ve already read this Chris Mortensen article that was put on ESPN just before 1:30 today, because it’s the kind of thing that could scare any Pats fan. I, for one, am not putting much thought into it.
Unless it’s about Brett Favre, I’m not gonna put all my trust in Chris Mortensen when he’s citing pretty unclear sources. In fact, let’s break down where these sources seem to be coming from, because that might convince everyone that this just does not matter.
“Tension exists between Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ coaching staff, and multiple sources told ESPN that they believe it could influence whether the quarterback finishes his career with the team that he has led to three Super Bowl titles.”
“Two sources told ESPN that former rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted as Brady’s successor…”
No fucking shit he was. If you were under the impression that Garoppolo was drafted just to hold a clipboard, then you should thank ESPN for clearing that up for you. Also, you should turn 6 years old.
“One team source told ESPN that a conservative approach is necessary and said everyone needs to be patient to allow the team and staff to get on the same page. Brady’s declining performance also has been cited internally, a source told ESPN.”
Now here’s a source that sounds legitimate. A source that’s actually within the Patriots organization, and what does someone within the Patriots organization, an employee for Bill Belichick say? Absolutely nothing, of course. “Remain patient.” Sounds like the Pats. “We’re on to Cincinnati.”
“Brady has stated publicly he wants to play another four or five years, at least. Sources close to the quarterback told ESPN that remains true but acknowledge that his career may end with another franchise unless Patriots owner Robert Kraft intercedes.”
Here’s where you have to remember that Tom Brady is a player. Granted, he’s by far the most important player in franchise history, but he’s not making the decisions. The only way that any tension from Brady’s point of view, if this is all true and remains true into future offseasons, is if he rejects a contract restructuring or something like that. And just some tension over what has happened to the offense likely won’t change that Tom Brady still is a maniacal competitor who wants to win more than anything.
Sure, Brady might not finish his career here, and it’s true that the worse he plays, and the worse the rest of the offense plays, increases the chances of that frightening reality. But this Chris Mortensen piece means nothing. It isn’t a sign of impending doom. It’s just noise. And you know how the Patriots feel about that shit: