The New England Patriots are heading into the season hopeful that Tom Brady will be under center, but if his court battle doesn’t end up overturning the league’s four-game suspension, rumors indicate that there could be a surprise under center when the season starts.
Brady is currently in federal court fighting the league’s punishment for his alleged involvement in DeflateGate. Brady has argued that he knew nothing of plans to deflate footballs to below league standards, and he is claiming before a federal judge that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went beyond his capacity to punish Brady.
While his fate is being determined, the Patriots have been preparing second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to take over, but a shaky performance in the first preseason game could put that in doubt. Garoppolo struggled in the team’s opener on Thursday, putting only 11 points on the board.
Garoppolo was hard on himself after the team’s 22-11 preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers.
“Just upset,” he said, via ESPN. “Eleven points isn’t good enough. Any time you lose…”
Garoppolo had trouble on longer passes and held the ball too long at other times. He ended up 20-of-30 with 159 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked seven times.
His insertion into the game — at the end of the first half, after Tom Brady’s surprise start — came without notice. Patriots coach Bill Belichick generally does not give the second team an idea of when they will be coming in.
“We don’t really [have] any heads up,” Garoppolo said.
But Garoppolo didn’t make any excuses and was particularly harsh on himself for the interception, which he threw into tight coverage along the left sideline.
“That’s a tough one,” he said. “He got grabbed a little bit, the ball gets tipped up and it’s unfortunate. Throwing an interception is inexcusable. That’s on me.”
But with Garoppolo struggling, there are some rumors that the New England Patriots could turn to veteran Ryan Lindley. The Patriots signed him last week after cutting the injured Matt Flynn, giving a veteran presence behind Garoppolo and possibly someone who could take over should Jimmy’s struggles continue.
The Patriots could also turn to another familiar face. When they cut Flynn, coach Bill Belichick said he hoped to have given the former Patriots quarterback more of a chance.
“I know he worked hard, it was frustrating he couldn’t get out there, [that] we couldn’t see him out there,” he said, via ESPN.
But if there is anything to the rumors that the New England Patriots could bring Matt Flynn back, they may need to hurry. He is reportedly meeting with the New York Jets about the opening Geno Smith’s broken jaw has left.
[Image via Patriots.com]