By: Jake Mackey
Brace yourselves backup quarterback talk is coming. Ah yes the start of training camp means football is one step closer and we can finally stop bantering about how the Red Sox need bullpen help, David Price’s antics, and if the Celtics can compete with Cleveland. The real team in town is back to steal the spotlight and while many like myself enjoy good front seven talk, ratings are driven when things like the future of the Patriots quarterback position is brought up and the hot take police are summoned.
In the past we have heard about Ryan Mallett’s, “first-round arm talent” as Mike Mayock put it, the Tim Tebow experiment of 2013, and for the last three summers’ all we have heard of the improvement from one year to the next of Jimmy Garoppolo. This year now more than ever we will have Jimmy’s name pumped into our eardrums due to the fact that he is entering the final year of his contract.
For whatever reason the Patriots decided to pass on the opportunity to trade Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason when they reportedly could have received a high first-round pick from Cleveland in this past April’s draft. Yet they passed. Why? The deniers (me) will say that Belichick values always having insurance at the position, but with the multiple reports from the likes of Mike Giardi of CSNNE stating that league scouts believe that Belichick thinks he has, “the next guy” you can’t help but think that he truly believes that and Brady could be out the door sooner than expected.
I am not one to question Bill Belichick too much, but this seems questionable. Yes Jimmy popped in the game and a half that he played to start last season, and having a guy that can be serviceable at the quarterback position is the most important thing to have in the NFL. However, the fact that he only played a game and a half is my biggest concern. He had a tweak in his shoulder after he tried to extend a play that did not need to be extended and he refused to try and play in week four against Buffalo forcing rookie Jacoby Brissett to go out and play with a broken thumb and his team was blanked as a result. Brissett was just as impressive in week three against Houston where the Patriots won 27-0.
While Jacoby did not go to the air as much as Jimmy, he was thrown into the starting role just four months after being drafted into the league, something Jimmy did not have to do until his third year in the league. Brissett in one year has already proven more mental toughness than Jimmy has in his whole career. His upside in my opinion is higher than Garoppolo’s was when he was first-drafted. He played in a real college football conference when he was at NC State, he is a normal quarterback size at 6-4, 230 pounds, and he has a stronger arm. He just needs time to grow, but I have not heard that at all from Patriots writers like they have been saying about Garoppolo the last three years.
Patriot’s fans for whatever reason have ignored Jacoby Brissett as a legitimate contender for the Patriots starting quarterback when Brady moves on; it’s all about, “Jimmy G”. Well I am telling you, keep and eye out for number seven over the next couple of weeks, because he has more upside than you would think.