Would Jimmy Garoppolo's presence on the field Sunday have kept the Patriots from being shut out at home for the first time since 1993? That much is unclear, but at least the three-year veteran would have had more of the Patriots offense available to him than rookie third-rounder Jacoby Brissett did in New England's 16-0 loss to the Bills.
Garoppolo was ruled inactive for the second consecutive week as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury, and now with Tom Brady back from his four-game suspension, there is a chance Garoppolo does not see the field for the remainder of the season.
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During Monday's conference call with reporters, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if it was Garoppolo who made the decision not to play.
"The decision to make him inactive was just like the decision to make the other six players inactive," Belichick said. "I mean, we do that every game. Every game there are seven inactives."
Belichick added: "We listed him on the injury report with everybody else. We listed him based on . . . That's what we based it on on Friday when we were required to list that. That's what we did, just like we did with everybody else that was or wasn't on it. If they weren't on it, then that was their status. If they were on it, then that was their status based on what we knew at that time."
Garoppolo was spotted throwing passes at Patriots practice on Wednesday, but he was limited in workouts all week leading up to the Bills game. He was ruled to be "questionable" following Friday's on-the-field work, and reporters who had access to a portion of practice on Friday did not see Garoppolo throw.
"We listed him as questionable so when we list a player as questionable it's 50-50 that we think they can play," Belichick said when asked if the team thought Garoppolo had a chance to play on Friday or Saturday. "That's why they're listed as questionable.
"I mean, look, we can't do an injury report every five minutes. Five minutes after the injury report? Five minutes after that? I mean, you know, at some point that 50-50 either goes to they can play or they can't play. We listed him on the injury report based on what we knew at 4 p.m. on Friday or whatever time the injury report was turned in. That's what it was."