New England Patriots fans will get a sneak peek at life after Tom Brady’s retirement party this year as Jimmy Garoppolo takes the wheel for the first four games of the regular season. Brady is still appealing his four game suspension for cheating by deflating football, but he completely destroyed his phone records to prevent the discovery of incriminating evidence, so it’s not looking good for him.
I could rant for days about Brady and his second career cheating offense, but let’s get back to the point: Garoppolo will be the man in Boston for the first four weeks of the NFL season, and he couldn’t have wished for a better situation.
The Pats don’t win year after year because of Brady or because they cheat (although the latter certainly helps), but because they’re just straight up better put together than your favorite team. It’s hard for any NFL fan to accept this fact, but most of them have gotten used to it over time.
Even with losses of Vince Wilfork, Shane Vereen, Darrelle Revis, and Brandon Browner, the Patriots will be set. Brandon Spikes was a fantastic signing even with his issues (but then he was released by the Patriots after the abandoned car incident), and let’s not forget the team still has football mastermind Bill Belichick over on the sideline. Even without the strength at cornerback, Belichick will come up with some crazy scheme that allows the Patriots to succeed in their two positions of strength—safety and pass rushing.
So that leaves the Patriots well-oiled offensive machine to worry about. Can anyone replace Brady in the command center of this high-powered system? Well, let’s not forget Matt Cassel led this team to an 11-5 record when Brady
broke injured his leg.
So yes, it’s more than possible. Garoppolo isn’t the most experienced quarterback (in fact, Week 1 will be his first career start in his second NFL season), but anyone that can throw a football can manage two touchdowns a game to Rob Gronkowski alone.
The Patriots offense looks almost completely the same as last season, just with LeGarrette Blount and Travaris Cadet in the backfield as opposed to Vereen and Stevan Ridley.
The Patriots have the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Dallas Cowboys for the first four matchups. The Jags will be an easy win, but Garoppolo will definitely need to work a little harder to prove his worth against the Steelers and Cowboys. The Patriots wouldn’t beat the Bills in Buffalo with 2007 Brady on the field. Rex Ryan will be way too prepared for their arrival.
If Garoppolo can manage a 2-2 record, it’s hard to call his stint as a starter anything but successful. But be warned, after those two losses, we’ll all have to put up with a week of “Brady would have won that.”