It’s such a common belief locally and nationally that it’s become downright scary.
“Things won’t be that bad with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback for the first four weeks of the 2016 season and he’ll lead the Patriots to a 3-1 or, at worst, 2-2 record.”
The crowd that believes Bill Belichick is more responsible than Tom Brady for the Patriots’ success over these last 15 years surely believes that, but even the TB12 G.O.A.T. group thinks 3-1 for Garoppolo is more than doable.
In the name of old school, Boston sports sky-is-falling worry, let’s go over a scenario in which the Patriots could be 0-4 when Brady returns on Oct. 9 against Cleveland.
Sept. 11 at Cardinals
The “1” in everyone’s “3-1” is the opener. Sunday Night Football, on the road, against the 2015 NFC runner-up may be too big a stage for Garoppolo – a kid who was 9-years-old when Mo Lewis promoted Brady to starting QB of the NEP. Garoppolo is just 24-years-old and has not yet taken a significant NFL snap. He had great success in college, but let’s remember that he wasn’t exactly playing against the SEC West. The defensive ends from Morehead State and the University of Tennessee at Martin aren’t walking through that door – but a pissed off Chandler Jones is.
Sept. 18 vs. Dolphins
The Dolphins’ new head coach, Adam Gase, was with Peyton Manning in Denver when Manning had his most flawless playoff performance against the Patriots. In the 2013 AFC Championship game, Manning completed 32-of-43 passes for 400 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 26-16 Broncos win. Manning finished with a 118.4 passer rating. While Manning acted as his own offensive coordinator during his career, no doubt Gase was taking notes on how to take down a Belichick defense while in Denver.
Gase is now working with Ryan Tannehill, who has been as successful against Belichick defenses as any QB recently. Tannehill is 2-2 against the Pats the past two years.
Sept. 22 vs. Texans
This game is on a short week as it will be played on a Thursday night. If the Pats enter this game 0-2, there will already be legit panic and Garoppolo will be facing a Texans defense that allowed just 19.6 points per game last season (seventh best in the NFL).
Brady surely is able to dominate a Patriots-style defense as the Texans are New England-lite and we saw the Pats go into Houston and win, 27-6, just nine months ago. Reading Bill O’Brien’s defense, however, won’t be as easy for Jimmy G.
Oct. 2 vs. Bills
Rex Ryan isn’t saying it (for once), but he’s got to be salivating at the thought of playing a Brady-less Patriots team.
Ryan had some success against the Patriots, particularly early in the season, during the opening portion of his tenure with the Jets. In his first season in New York, the Jets upset the Pats in the Meadowlands, 16-9 in Week 2. The next season, Ryan and the Jets again beat the Pats – this time by a score of 28-14.
In 2011, the Patriots again suffered an early-season loss – falling at the Bills (Ryan was still with the Jets though), 34-31. In 2012, there were two September losses and in 2014 there were two September losses.
It’s been said before, but the best time to get the Patriots is early in the season. Early in the season with an untested QB?
That could potentially spell 0-4.