We got into a mini-debate Tuesday on one of our office e-mail threads.
Over the past six months, we've all heard the smooth-brained sentiment that, "The Patriots should have just kept Jimmy…"
Wide receiver is a big question mark, the running back group is already dealing with injuries, there's a new left tackle blah, blah, blah, we all know the landscape by now. In the end, though, Brady will bail the Patriots out.
Just like 2013. Remember that? The season started with Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and a not-yet-ascended Julian Edelman at wideout, Stevan Ridley at running back and Rob Gronkowski on a very slow mend from his arm injury/back surgery. And that team still went 12-4 (coulda been 14-2 were in not for controversial calls against the Jets and Panthers).
Brady's proven he can put a flawed offense on his back and take further than he has any business taking it. Has Garoppolo? No. The Patriots might not get to .500 if you swapped Garoppolo in for Brady this year.
Reasonable minds differed. Strongly.
The 2017 49ers were 1-10 when Garoppolo became the starter. They finished 6-10. And their personnel around Garoppolo was nothing like what the Patriots have in 2018 even with Edelman suspended for the first four games. So stop being so stupid, stupid.
Everybody eventually agreed that the Patriots are better positioned for this season with Brady in charge, I tap-danced away from "wouldn't get to .500" argument and we moved on.
To this: Which teams would be better off with Garopollo as their 2018 starter rather than the guy in place?
Forget, "It's August and he doesn't know the offense, doesn't have an apartment and how will he affect our locker room…?" Just ask yourself, if you were the GM/head coach/football poobah, would you rather have Jimmy Garoppolo than (fill in the blank) for this season if you had to choose?
The league MVP threw for 505 in the Super Bowl. He was a coaching decision away from winning his third Super Bowl in four seasons.
Last year, I approached Jimmy for some idle small talk. Approachable guy. He told me he just finished watching film. "Of what?" I asked. "Aaron Rodgers." Garoppolo may one day be able to approximate that style and if he's 80 percent of the quarterback Rodgers has been, Jimmy will go to a lot of Pro Bowls. But the original is preferable.
Garoppolo will eventually be more accurate than Russell Wilson and he'd probably take fewer sacks but Wilson is insanely durable, ridiculously productive and criminally underrated.
In his first seven games, Deshaun Watson threw 19 touchdowns and eight picks and ran for 269 yards (7.5 YPC). In three of his four losses, the Texans put up over 33 points. Better than Jimmy.
Will Carson Wentz be ready for the opener? Dunno yet. But when he is ready, I'd ride with him over Jimmy.
Hasn't missed a game in two seasons? A 67.8 completion percentage and just four picks his rookie year. Gimme Dak.
As time goes by, we may see there are a lot of similarities between these two, but Carr (drafted in the same round as Jimmy in 2014) is well ahead of Garoppolo based on experience and has already gone through growing pains Garoppolo is going to experience.
I'm unapologetically in the bag for Matt Stafford. Tough sumbitch. Hasn't missed a game since 2010.
He's 39 … but he also led the league last year in completion percentage and YPA. It'll be a while before Jimmy is at a level that Drew Brees is at, even at Brees advanced age.
After watching this flagpole with arms against the Patriots as a rookie, I thought he'd be years from being capable. He was actually one year from being capable. Still don't love him but He threw seven picks in 15 games and Jim threw five in five games. Durability and decision-making are what Garoppolo's got to prove he has in spades.
This is where it starts to get close. Matt Ryan is one of the best passers in the league but too often the engine seizes at critical times (which is ironic for a player dubbed "Matty Ice." He turns it over too much. Plain and simple. If Garoppolo proves to be as cautious with the ball as the great ones, he'll be preferable to Ryan. Don't know yet.
ACTUALLY, I THINK SO
Cam Newton also turns it over too much, gets blasé, blasé when things don't go his way and his persecution complex is tiresome. Gimme Jimmy.
What I said about Newton goes for Big Ben too. Except the turnovers. Ben doesn't turn it over as much. He just takes too many sacks. I'd be interested to see how good the Steelers receivers would be if the ball came out on time consistently with Garoppolo. Maybe they'd be better. Maybe they'd be worse because Roethlisberger's penchant for restarting plays lets guys uncover. But I think the Steelers would get a bump from excising Ben's overdramatic, put-upon act.
I'm not a big Kirk Cousins guy.
If the season started with the Super Bowl, I'd stick with Eli. But over 16 games, nahhh. Sand is running out of the hourglass on Elisha.
Alex Smith is good enough to get you where your team should go. He's not good enough to get you past that. He's a Honda Civic.
They practically closed down the Circle Center Mall (big Indianapolis landmark) when Andrew Luck threw a JV-sized football in the offseason. I'm not betting his wing makes it through the year. He takes too many hits. In a close one, I bet on Jimmy staying intact longer.
This team hasn't had double-digit wins since 2009?! I didn't realize that. I just know that they are annually poised to be better than OK and they never are so, Phil, love ya, but I'll go with Jimmy.
Kindly GTFOOH with Case Keenum. Strapped to that defense in Minnesota last year, of course he had a nice season. It was a mirage.
I want to believe in Marcus Mariota. I do. Then he takes eight sacks in a playoff game against the Patriots proving he's not the same level dual-threat player that guys like Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton are or can be and he's not as accurate as Garoppolo promises to be either.
I don't think Mitch Trubisky is now or ever will be better than Garoppolo.
Same goes for Patrick Mahomes (with a little less certainty).
I think A.J. McCarron is going to be an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor. But I think Jimmy would be an upgrade over A.J. McCarron.
Ryan Tannehill is average personified. I'd shake that up right quick if I were in Miami.
Not yet on Sam Darnold. (And if Teddy Bridgewater's leg was not demolished in 2016, he'd be in my "HELL NO" category).
I'll take Jim's upside over mildly capable but generally uninspiring Andy Dalton.
Saw too much Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo to buy into the Hard Knocks hype. Baker Mayfield will throw more picks than touchdowns in his first year at the controls. Write it down.
Imagine marrying yourself to Blake Bortles for three more seasons because he didn't poop himself in the postseason? That's what the Jags did. Yay, continence!
Jameis is basically Bortles with a greater penchant for stupidity.
The luckiest birthdate in the NFL belongs to Sam Bradford. He came into the NFL as the first pick in 2010 before the new CBA slotted rookie contracts. He's made $134 million so far. And I can't even write, "That's $XX million for every postseason start," because he's never played in the postseason. I'll take Jim.