Jimmy Garoppolo has attempted just 31 pass attempts in two NFL seasons, a mark that he could eclipse in Week 1 at Arizona in what will be the first start of his career. Yes, not a lot is known about Garoppolo, a second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois, but the New England Patriots are confident that he can steer the ship while Tom Brady misses the first four games of the season due to suspension.
“Well, I think the most important thing when you look at Garoppolo, other than the fact that he’s been sitting at the right hand of the father now for a couple of years, (is) Josh McDaniels has been extremely complimentary of him, both his work ethic and his ability,” TheMMQB.com’s Peter King said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The good thing for New England is even without Brady, they got three of four at home when Brady will be missing. And not only that, those three games, they’re probably going to be favored in all three, even with Garoppolo (against) Miami, Buffalo and Houston. Being favored is not that big of a deal, but they could have a killer schedule. The only killer game among those four is at Arizona to start. Tom Brady could have lost that game as well as Jimmy Garoppolo. I’m not saying that he would have or that Garoppolo will lose, but I think the schedule gives them quite an advantage going into the Garoppolo era.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Bill Belichick divvies the snaps in training camp. Brady will definitely want his fair share of reps, but Garoppolo will probably need as many as he can get, especially going against a Bruce Arians defense in Week 1.
“I think Belichick clearly is going to have Garoppolo take at least half the snaps with the first unit in camp,” King said. “He has to. I’m assuming he’s going to start him in the third preseason game. Belichick always does some strange things in the preseason, and nobody knows what he’s going to do, but I’d be very surprised if Garoppolo doesn’t start Week 3 and play into the third quarter with the team that he’s going to have to lead for four weeks.”
Brandon Tierney wondered if, given the circumstances, Garoppolo should receive all of the first-unit work this preseason, but King doesn’t think that’s warranted – or necessarily smart.
“Think of it this way,” King said. “For the last three-quarters of this season and whatever they do in the playoffs, injury notwithstanding, Tom Brady is going to be the quarterback of the team. So you can’t just say, ‘Oh, by the way, these three, four guys, these new guys we got on offense, you’re not going to work with them at all until you come back, and then you’ll work with them starting on Wednesday before Game 5.’ I don’t think you can do that. You’ve got to split them. Maybe you give Garoppolo 60 or 70 percent. I don’t know. But Brady just can’t stand on the sidelines either.”
King also weighed in on several other NFL topics, including troubled Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory, who has reportedly entered an undisclosed facility for treatment for substance abuse.
“Jerry and Stephen Jones have taken calculated risks in the last couple of years with this team,” King said. “A number of guys had very checkered pasts and now the roosters are coming home. They just simply don’t have much of a pass rush. In my opinion, Ezekiel Elliot and that running game had better be ready to be an absolutely dominant, mashing running game on the lines of what Emmitt Smith’s running game was with Dallas 25 years ago. You’re going to have to keep the defense off the field.”
King is also confident that the Jets will reach an agreement with Ryan Fitzpatrick before training camp. The two sides have been a standstill for months.
“I’m in shock that’s not going to be done on the first day of training camp, but I still think it’s going to be done,” King said. “A compromise – one year, $12 million – something like that. The Jets know they need him, and I still think it’s going to get done.”
Robert Griffin III, meanwhile, is the presumptive starter in Cleveland, but by no means does he have a hammerlock on the position.
“In the offseason, talking to some people in Cleveland, I went from being convinced that the opening-day quarterback will be RG3 to only being convinced that everybody’s going to get a chance to win that job including Cody Kessler, the kid from USC,” King said. “I would say RG3 starts opening day, but I don’t feel great about it.”
And, finally, don’t buy that the 2016 season could be Adrian Peterson’s last in the NFL.
“It might be his last year with the Vikings, but it won’t be his last year in football, and I doubt that it’s going to be his last year with the Vikings,” King said. “One of the things the Vikings are intent on doing is having Adrian Peterson usher in the Vikings’ Super Bowl season for that stadium. They’re hosting the Super Bowl next year. I saw that report and It’s a legitimate issue, not question about it, but I do think Peterson definitely, absolutely wants to continue playing. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t Minnesota, but he’ll play in 2017.”