Garoppolo was on the field for the the Patriots' last four snaps on offense in Sunday's 20-10 loss to the Dolphins, after entering the game with 1:56 remaining on the clock, ESPN's Mike Reiss reports. Garoppolo completed one pass (on his first four attempts of the season) for six yards in the process. As the 2015 season approached, Garoppolo was penciled in as the Patriots' early-season starter, thanks to starter Tom Brady's NFL-imposed four-game suspension, but once that ruling was overturned, Garoppolo reverted to his duties as the team's No. 2 QB. While that kept the 24-year-old in a reserve role, coach Bill Belichick noted after the completion of the regular season that Garoppolo has made "great strides" this year in various areas of his game. "We see it on a daily basis," Belichick added. In advance of the postseason, Brady is nursing an ankle injury, but it's not an issue that is expected to sideline him for any game action.
If Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is suspended at the start of the season in the Deflategate scandal, one of the more interesting storylines would be the play of Jimmy Garoppolo. Garroppolo, who was a rookie in 2014, has little game experience. However, Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell says he has confidence in the backup quarterback and says a year learning under Brady should suit him well. "Jimmy has grown a lot since he first stepped foot up there in Foxborough last year," LaFell said, per ESPN. "He got a little experience during the later part of the season against Buffalo; he showed a little glimpse of what he can do. He's been having a nice OTAs, a nice offseason with us. "I feel like studying behind Tom has been great for him. If we have to be without Tom for the first couple games, I'm pretty sure Tom will be in Jimmy's ear helping him prepare each and every way he can to go out here and lead this team. I think we have a great group of guys around him that will kind of take the pressure off Jimmy so he won't have to feel like he has to go out there and win the game himself."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is hopeful that an appeal will allow stud quarterback Tom Brady to take the field for the season opener in September. But if Brady remains suspended for his role in Deflategate, the quality of the position is thrown into uncertainty. Jimmy Garoppolo is a 24-year-old backup with six NFL games and 27 passes to his credit. Kraft has no idea how he will perform in Brady's place. "He is a very hard worker, a very fine man, but until the bullets are flying and you're out there, no one knows," he told Monday Morning Quarterback. "Think about how many of these first-round picks, even, don't make it." Garappolo, who was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Eastern Illinois, performed competently in limited opportunities last year. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended four games for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the league, the NFL announced. In addition, New England will lose their first-round draft pick in 2016, a fourth in 2017 and the team was fined $1 million. Brady was considered to have a "more probable than not" knowledge of the deflating of footballs during the 2014 season, including the AFC Championship game against the Colts, according to the Wells Report. Brady will be able to participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities. The two team employees, John Jastremski and James McNally have also been suspended indefinitely without pay by the team. Commissioner Roger Goodell came to the decision after consulting multiple parties. "We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others," Goodell said. "We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report." Backup Jimmy Garoppolo will likely take over for Brady in the first four weeks of the season, something his personal passing coach Jeff Cristiansen believes he's ready for. "From the exchanges I've had with Jimmy, I can tell you Tom's been great with him, and helping him understand NFL defenses, along with the offense," Christiansen said. "He's got nothing but great things to say about the whole situation. He feels very fortunate."
Patriots rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went 10 for 17 for 90 yards in New England's 17-9 loss to Buffalo Sunday. Garoppolo was not asked to do much and also had four carries for 16 yards in the contest. He is now 19 for 27 for 182 yards and one touchdown in his rookie season. The Patriots will have a first-round bye and next play in the divisional round of the playoffs.
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