By Matthew Cunha
Tom Brady missed practice on Wednesday heading into the Patriots week 13 match up with the Los Angeles Rams. A leg injury has raised the question about him sitting out a couple of weeks and starting backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Kirk Minihane of WEEI said he thought that the Patriots would win 2 of the next 3 games if Garoppolo were to start. That brought me back to the first couple of games of this season before Garoppolo got hurt and was replaced by Jacoby Brissett. Garoppolo had a 70 percent completion percentage with 496 yards, and 4 touchdowns. His 117.1 quarterback rating in close to 90 minutes of play ranks 2nd among quarterbacks to play this season trailing only Mike Glennon (It should be noted that Glennon also only played in 2 games and completed 10 of 11 passes). Tom Brady’s quarterback rating is at 116.7, .4 less than Garoppolo’s. Which leaves us with the question, what if Garoppolo did not get hurt?
The Patriots would have most likely would have defeated the Buffalo Bills in week 4; the Bills only scoring 16 points. QB Jacoby Brissett was largely ineffective in that game with a win the Patriots would have been in a spot where they would have to bench an undefeated quarterback. Brady would played in week 5 and on, but it would have created a dilemma for the next year. How, even with Tom Brady, do you not move on to starter ready 25 year-old quarterback whose NFL record is 4-0?
I know that a lot of people are going to think that I am crazy and that the Patriots would never move on from Tom Brady. Do you really think Bill Belichick would be afraid to pull that trigger? He has done it with everybody. Wes Welker, Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel, Logan Mankins, and Chandler Jones to name a few. Most recently, he did it to Jamie Collins for nothing in return. Belichick proved with that deal that he has the team’s longevity in mind. In a press conference on November 18th Belichick had this to say about Jimmy:
“Certainly we have a good quarterback in Jimmy and Jimmy can go out there and run everything that Tom can run. We’ve seen that, so I’m not saying that he’s not capable or qualified to do it. He is, and he does a great job of it and when we put Jimmy in there it’s really seamless. Unless you were actually looking at the position, if you just could block out that position and say which guy was in there at quarterback, I don’t know if you would know a lot of times.”
Of course, Jimmy did get injured versus Miami and it put a lot of questions to rest with a limited sample. Had he not, questions about Tom Brady’s future would be flying around the Patriots. If Tom Brady’s knee injury or any injury were to happen to the GOAT this year, I have full faith that the Patriots 25 year-old backup quarterback would put Tom Brady’s future with the New England Patriots in jeopardy. In the first half versus Miami Jimmy threw for 232 YDS and 3 TD. The offense looked just as dynamic as it does with Tom under center. The Dolphins, are currently a playoff team by the way. Also, Jimmy was without the beast that is Rob Gronkowski. It would be a dilemma that would force the Patriots to choose between the now and the future. A dilemma that could force the Patriots to walk away from the greatest of all time for the possibility of another decade of success. A decision made, where the smart logical decision could be to walk away from Brady would undoubtedly anger the entire Patriots fan base. Yet, it is a decision that I believe Belichick and the Patriots would make, and I can’t say I blame them.