It was bound to happen. A quarterback controversy in New England. Tom Brady vs Jimmy Garoppolo vs Bill Belichick. Egos have collided. Selfishness reigns supreme. This will never end well.
Nevermind. That’s just what the kings and queens of Boston sports media will tell you. Mainly because that’s what they want. They want a controversy. They want egos to collide. They want some type of quarterback rift in Foxboro.
Back here on planet Earth, while the Patriots’ quarterback dynamic is certainly unique this season because of Brady’s four-game Deflategate suspension, it’s in no way creating the type of controversy that some major voices in this town will tell you.
Through three preseason games, Garoppolo has been the priority, just like I told he should be back in July, and just like Belichick told you he would be at the beginning of training camp. But last Friday in Carolina for the third preseason game — otherwise known as the “dress rehearsal” — Brady took his first in-game snaps of the year.
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Brady entered the game late in the first quarter and played four possessions, going 3-of-9 for 76 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo made the start, played three possessions before handing it off to Brady, and then re-entered the game in the second quarter, through most of the third.
The mere presence of Brady on the sideline in that game rubbed some fans and media members the wrong way. These people didn’t even think he should have made the trip to Carolina. But since he did, he played. And since he played, in their minds, it interfered with Garoppolo’s progression as the team’s starting quarterback.
In reality though, the Patriots did exactly what they wanted to do, which was establish Garoppolo as the starting quarterback in the most meaningful game of the preseason.
A few of the moments that made people bring up the word “controversy” included Brady leading the team onto the field before Friday’s game against the Panthers, little to no interaction between Brady and Garoppolo on the sideline during that same game, and of course, Brady “stealing” several possessions with the '1s.'
First off, it shouldn’t matter who leads the team out to the field. Even if you think it should matter, last time I checked, this is still Brady’s team. He’ll just be missing the first four weeks of the regular season.
And since he’ll be MIA, that leads me to my next point, about his interaction with Garoppolo on the sideline during the game. While Brady serves his suspension and is away from the team, he won’t be around to help Garoppolo during games. So it’s more than likely that Brady staying away from Garoppolo and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in between possessions was the plan all along.
Why? Because it was the dress rehearsal. And what’s a dress rehearsal for? The actual performance. And that performance is Week 1 in Arizona. Garoppolo will get the start. Brady will be home on his couch.
As for Brady “stealing” possessions with the '1s,' what did you think? That he wouldn’t be getting any snaps in the preseason? He can still get some playing time while Garoppolo remains the priority. After all, Brady will be returning as the Patriots’ starting quarterback in Week 5 - I don’t care what Garoppolo does the first four weeks.
Brady knows that. Belichick knows that. Garoppolo knows that.
And they all need Garoppolo to have success before Brady takes over in Week 5, which is another reason why there’s no quarterback controversy.
If there was any type of QB controversy in New England, it was created by Jacoby Brissett. Brissett has made all the big throws. He seems to have it all under control when he’s under center. He looks the part, and his preseason performances have shortened Garoppolo’s leash when the regular season begins, in my opinion.
So it was bound to happen. A quarterback controversy in New England. It just doesn’t include Brady.