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 5: The NFC East

Here we go. Time for the NFC, starting with the most unpredictable division in football.

1. Giants: 10-12 wins

The Giants have been steadily improving for several years now, and I think this is the year they move into first. How long that lasts, who knows.

2. Cowboys: 9-12 wins

Dallas has a lot if question marks. A lot. Particularly around sophomore seasons for Prescott and Elliot. But they should be good, and could easily take first place again over NY.

3. Redskins: 7-9 wins

The Redskins could end up surprising me either way here. I could see them winning more or fewer games than I predict the range will be. Their offense is going through a big change, so the bulk of the uncertainty rests on quarterback Kirk Cousins.

4. Eagles: 5-9 

I think it would be really cool for Philly to upset everyone and take the division, but I don’t see that being much of a possibility. They do have hope for the next few seasons if they draft well, though.

Preseason Predictions 4: The AFC West

Round 4, the last of the AFC: the AFC West.

1. Raiders: 11-13 wins

Oakland should win the division this year, if Carr stays healthy. Their defense is going to improve, and their offense is much better than the rest of the division.

2. Chiefs: 11-13 wins

Kansas City has the defense to get them to the postseason, but their offense is a big question. Last year they managed to win the division, but I think this year it’ll be a wild card berth.

3. Broncos: 7-10 wins

They have a fantastic defense, but they were one of the worst quarterbacking teams in the league last year. Denver must get consistent performance from their offense to contend for a wild card berth.

4. Chargers: 5-8 wins

Los Angeles’s newest team has potential for growth, but they probably won’t make it very far. Losing to Cleveland last year doesn’t boost my confidence in them.