New England Patriots Rumors: Jimmy Garoppolo Could Be Poised To Become Tom Brady’s Heir Apparent

The New England Patriots are rumored to be changing the guard at quarterback a lot sooner than expected, with many believing that the unplanned four-game start for backup Jimmy Garoppolo is a chance for him to prove his place as the team’s next franchise quarterback.

Garoppolo will be thrown into action to start this season after the NFL reinforced its four-game suspension of Brady related to the Deflategate scandal. Unless Brady is able to receive an injunction from federal court, Garoppolo will be starting the first four games of the team’s Super Bowl defense and will be able to show whether he has what it takes to lead the team into the future.

The writing has been on the wall for Garoppolo since early on in his career. Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, Garoppolo looked sharp in the preseason and earned praise from Patriots coach Bill Belichick, leading many to believe he was being groomed as Brady’s replacement.

While Garoppolo has only played 32 snaps in the NFL — with most of his playing time coming in the second half of a meaningless season finale against the Buffalo Bills — he has looked sharp at times.

But given his lack of experience, it’s likely that Jimmy Garoppolo will see a lot of pressure, wrote ESPN reporter Mike Rodak.

“Under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz last season, the Bills blitzed on just 21.2 percent of opponents’ dropbacks, the third-lowest rate in the NFL. When Garoppolo replaced Brady in Week 17 last season, Schwartz turned the dial up and blitzed on 36 percent of Garoppolo’s drop-backs. Garoppolo faced pressure on 50 percent of his drop backs, more than double the rate that Brady faced over the entire season. Aside from Garoppolo’s successful third-and-6 scramble and a pair of completions to Brandon LaFell while under duress, the Bills’ blitzing generally neutralized the Patriots’ passing game. Expect the blitz-heavy Steelers and Bills to follow suit this season.”

But the Bills are the only elite defense that Garoppolo will face during his four-game stretch this year. He will also have two games at home, including one against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and has a strong chance to win two or three games.

Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports analyzed Garoppolo and noted that he starts the year with stats very similar to Matt Cassel, the last quarterback to relieve Tom Brady for a long stretch. Cassel was able to go 11-5 with a mediocre performance that year, leading Wilson to believe that Garoppolo can produce something similar.

That all could be moot, however, if Tom Brady is able to receive an injunction and the New England Patriots have him to start the year — or possibly longer.

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