Goodbye Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers on Monday evening. I don’t recall a backup quarterback ever having so much intrigue for the Patriots (unless of course you go back to Brady himself, and even with him I don’t remember so much buzz about him in 2000). 

Jimmy was a talented quarterback. His performance in the first game and a half of 2015 were very important in keeping the Patriots at the top of the AFC in Brady’s wrongful absence. Some in the media questioned his toughness when he had a sprained ac joint and missed one game, but I never considered that opinion to be likely. I believed he would be the quarterback of the future for the Patriots, but alas.

It’s unusual to see a dramatic shift in opinion on a player from Bill Belichick. It usually takes a drastic event, like Asante Samuel dropping a super bowl interception, for such a shift. From what I’ve read, and what I’ve seem/heard Bill say, he apparently liked Jimmy a lot. Some have claimed it was Kraft who made the choice, telling Bill that Brady must retire a Patriot (which i have hoped for a long time), and since Brady will likely last a few more years Bill saw the writing on the wall. I do wonder what that means for Bill Belichick coaching the team into the future, if this will impact whether he feels Kraft trusts him or will let him run the team as he sees fit.

Speaking of Brady, it also makes one wonder how Brady felt about Jimmy. Im sure he wanted Jimmy to be a successful player, but it must have been a pain to see the guy many people want to replace you throwing the ball on your field. I’ve heard stories that Brady didn’t like these implications, but it’s obvious that it lit a fire under him that made him perform better (which is honestly hard to believe given his immense talent). This move tells me that Brady will be here for at least a few more seasons.

However things go, Jimmy Garoppolo is almost certainly out of the equation for good. I hope he succeeds in San Francisco and has a long career. Not that he beats the Patriots, but I wouldn’t wish I’ll on him. Thank you for your contributions to the team.

On another note, welcome back Brian Hoyer.

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Random Drug Tests

I see this every damn time someone hits multiple home runs in a game (congrats, JD Martinez). Everyone complains about how they’ll get “random” drug tests, and it’s clearly not “random”. It happens every 4/20 too.

Here’s the answer: it isn’t meant to be random. “Random” only applies to the player. The MLB (and NFL, and NBA, etc.) Have the authority to do it *randomly (I.e. at their discretion, without warning the player in advance) as a way of potentially catching a player in the act of cheating. It’s to deter people from cheating. It isn’t random for both sides because there would be no practical benefit for that.

Preseason Predictions 8: The NFC West

The final round of my preseason predictions. Here it is:

1. Seahawks: 11-13 wins

Seattle will have another strong year, contending for a high playoff seed. How they fare in the playoffs is a mystery.

2. Cardinals: 6-9 wins

I think Arizona will finish stronger than last year, but their potential isn’t particularly great. They could contend for a wild card slot, but they’ll be a dark horse if anything.

3. Rams: 5-8 wins

Los Angeles’s season is up in the air, especially since their quarterback situation is a little messy. But now that they’re free from the clutches of Jeff Fisher, their future looks brighter than before.

4. 49ers: 4- wins

Oh my. This team is a hot mess. Guaranteed top 5 draft pick.

Preseason Predictions 7: The NFC South

Another unpredictable division is the NFC South. Here we go:

1. Buccaneers: 9-12 wins

Tampa Bay has the talent to win the division, and Jameis Winston could pull it off this year. They should continue to improve and have a huge impact on the NFC.

2. Falcons: 7-11 wins

Atlanta could have a but of a hangover year after their monumental collapse in the Super Bowl last year. Or they could come out for revenge. Who knows?

3. Panthers: 7-10 wins

Can Newton needs to bounce back. They’ve lost a good chunk of their 2015 postseason team, but Carolina should be competitive for a wild card spot if Newton plays consistently.

4. Saints: 6-9 wins

If they had a defense, they’d be golden. Drew Brees is one of the best passers ever, but he can only carry the team so far. 

Preseason Predictions 6: The NFC North

The NFC North features some of the oldest franchises in the league, including the original Super Bowl winner. Here’s round 6:

1. Packers: 11-14 wins

Green Bay sometimes gets off to a slow start, but when they get rolling they can be absolutely deadly. Aaron Rodgers is pretty much good for 10 wins on his own.

2. Lions: 8-11 wins

Detroit has performed surprisingly well recently. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a small decline, but at the same time 11 wins is a very achievable goal.

3. Vikings: 6-9 wins

Minnesota’s offense is a huge question mark on the 2017 season, especially at quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater returning at some point. I hope they make a run for the playoffs but it seems very unlikely.
4. Bears: 1-5 wins

Oh boy. This team is a hot mess. We’ll see how the rookies perform, but having high hopes for Da Bears is setting yourself up for disappointment.

Preseason Predictions 3: The AFC South

Round 3: the worst division in the NFL the last few years. This could be a positive year for a few different teams in the division, as young players grow.

1. Titans: 9-11 wins

Tennessee has been steadily improving, fairly rapidly as of late, since drafting Mariota. This could be the year they get into the postseason.

2. Texans: 8-11 wins

Houston has been hovering at around 9 wins, carried by solid defensive play. JJ Watt’s Hurricane Harvey relief fundraising has won over a lot of people (including me) as well. I think they’ll be contenders for at least the wild card, and could hold off the Titans if their quarterback play improves.

3. Colts: 6-9 wins

Oy. Andrew Luck has so much potential, if the front office could just give him a damn offensive line, and half a defense.

4. Jaguars: 2-5 wins

Jacksonville will be lucky to win 4 games. I don’t think they’ll be out of the top 5 in the draft next year.

Preseason Predictions 2: The AFC North

Another round of predictions, this time perhaps the grittiest division in football: the AFC North.

1. Steelers: 10-12 wins

Pittsburgh should win the division. They have the deepest team and the best top-level talent. They could contend for the top seed in the AFC if they manage to win their division matchups.

2. Bengals: 7-10 wins

This is a bit of a crapshoot. Cincinnati could end up surprising everyone and contending with Pittsburgh, but theyre more likely to win around 8 games, especially given Burfict’s suspension.

3. Ravens: 6-9 wins

Injury problems at quarterback never help a team’s record. Baltimore seems to be in a bit of a rut since losing to New England back in the 2014-15 playoffs.

4. Browns: 4- wins

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Cleeveland is lucky the NFL doesn’t relegate teams.