New England Patriots: Jimmy Garoppolo still learning


Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo

(10) is sacked by Green Bay Packers defensive end

Datone Jones

(95) during the second half in a preseason NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday the New England Patriots played their preseason opener and it was the first chance of the year to see young Jimmy Garoppolo get in-game action. A big deal has been made about how terrible he played and how the Patriots are in big trouble if Brady’s suspension won’t be overturned. The fact that the Patriots could be in trouble might be true, but Garoppolo really wasn’t that bad in his first game of 2015. His statline was quite bad as he was 20 for 30 for 159 yards with one interception, while getting sacked seven times, but sometimes the stats do lie and this is the case.

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A major reason Garoppolo struggled was the lack of time he had in the pocket.  Garoppolo might have looked a little skiddish in the pocket, but who wouldn’t when you have pressure in your face on every play. The Patriots offense line was simply terrible and big reason for that was that not a single starting offensive lineman played, except for possibly Tre’ Jackson if he ends up winning the starting job. I would like to remind you of the first four weeks of last years regular season in which Brady was “struggling”, but a large part of that was also due to the terrible offensive line play.

With a better O-line Garoppolo will look more relaxed and poised in the pocket. On some of the sacks he might have held on to the ball a bit too long, but he will learn and often he simply didn’t have time to get rid of it because the pressure was already there.

Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, New England Patriots wide receiver

Josh Boyce

(82) catches a pass as Miami Dolphins cornerback

Brent Grimes

(21) defends the play during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Another major factor for his struggles was Josh Boyce, who turned in such a poor performance that I believe that he deserves to be cut. Boyce had two targets from Brady that he couldn’t reel in and only caught two of the nine targets he saw from Garoppolo. He was also at least partially to blame for the interception thrown by Garoppolo as he simply didn’t come back to the ball, unlike the defensive back who made the pick. Garoppolo missed Boyce a few times, but Boyce was to blame for a large part of the incompletions as well.

If you take the Boyce targets out of the statistics, Garoppolo was 18-of-21 for 140 yards, zero touchdowns zero interceptions. Another thing Garoppolo has been heavily criticized for was his low yards per attempt. Once again this leads back to the offensive line, as it is very difficult to throw longer passes when you don’t have any time in the pocket. The constant pressure really hurt his long ball as it threw off his timing making it very difficult throw and deep and accurate pass. In practice Garoppolo has been very good on deep throws, so I wouldn’t worry much about that issue either.

Garoppolo didn’t show many good things in this game, but mostly because he wasn’t given the opportunity to. Without a starting offensive lineman and without Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, his favorite preseason targets Brian Tyms, Aaron Dobson, Scott Chandler and Travaris Cadet you simply can’t expect too much more from Garoppolo or most other quarterbacks.

This game was basically meaningless as you didn’t get much good out of it or much bad. Garoppolo won’t be as good as Brady, but he has the potential to be good, so I would wait with your judgement on the young QB till he actually has someone decent around him. If you take Boyce out of the game, he really wasn’t too bad and people shouldn’t read much into this performance. Maybe Garoppolo won’t be a good quarterback, but that conclusion can not be made from this game.

This game added to his experience and not much more, so everyone should relax when it comes to Jimmy Garoppolo.

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