It was all of our worst fears. When we first heard that Tom Brady was actually suspended for the first four weeks of the season, we all feared this moment.
Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury that looks awful as he was pummeled to the ground by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso. The panic set in as the moment we all feared happened. The Patriots lost Garoppolo.
The initial fears expected Garoppolo to be out for six weeks. Garoppolo suffered an AC sprain. As someone who has suffered a Grade 3 shoulder separation, it isn’t a pretty injury. Rarely do people avoid surgery and it can take months to regain motion in the affected shoulder. Then, after the conclusion of tests, the team received some good news. Garoppolo will only miss one or two games.
The only problem here is that if Garoppolo misses one or two games, then rookie No. 3 quarterback Jacoby Brissett now has to lead the team against Houston for a Thursday night primetime showdown against a very good defense. Then in week 4, Brissett would have to play against Rex Ryan’s Bills, who despite their obvious struggles will probably find a way to play tough against New England.
So now the bridge is set. Instead of Garoppolo carrying the torch until Brady returns, an inexperienced rookie is at the helm of the offense.
The prospect may look bleak. The Patriots looked like they could go 4-0 during Brady’s suspension with Garoppolo leading the way. But, now it looks like 2-2 could be a possibility.
Well, while two straight losses in weeks 3 and 4 are possible, the message here is: Don’t Panic.
The first disclaimer is that Brissett is not Garoppolo. Garoppolo had two years of teaching and months of preparation to get him ready to command the offense in Brady’s offense. Brissett has zero experience. Don’t expect him to be Garoppolo. Maybe in two years, Brissett will be looking like Garoppolo or even better. For now, the Patriots need to do with Brissett exactly what they did with Garoppolo.
Like Garoppolo, Brissett is a very impressive athlete. He’s quick, big and can make plays with his feet despite being a pocket-passer. Brissett has poise and one of his biggest assets is his vision and ability to read defenses. We’ve seen those skills in the preseason and we also saw those skills during his relief against the Dolphins. If Josh McDaniels can keep calling gems offensively with quick releases and mindless throws that don’t allow Brissett to think too hard or take big hits, Julian Edelman and company are very good at getting open within seconds. Brissett can then get the ball out of his hands quickly and establish some confidence and a rhythm.
The next point is that Brissett won’t be thrown into the fire on Thursday. It may be a quick turnaround of practices to play a Thursday night game, but Brissett will have some form of preparation.
Under Belichick’s leadership, preparation can go a long way. We’ve seen those results before.
The Patriots will need to find a veteran to sign as a backup to Brissett, even though some of us may want to see Edelman toss the pigskin and line up at quarterback in that event.
While it’s a longshot for Brissett to get ready on a short week, he will be as prepared as possible. Even though a win is looking like a difficult thing to pull off, Thursday’s game will not be a dumpster with Brissett leading the offense.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary