FOXBORO – Chris Hogan didn’t mince words when asked his review of Jimmy Garoppolo.
“Jimmy was playing unbelievable,” said Hogan with a shake of his head. “The kid was playing lights out. That goes to his preparation and what we talked about as a team last week but this is the NFL and that kind of stuff happens.”
That “stuff” was Garoppolo getting accordioned into the Gillette Stadium turf after his 27th throw of the first half. It may well be his final attempt of 2016 since his injured shoulder will keep him out Thursday and could keep him out through Week 4 as well.
Asked if he feels for Garoppolo who sat behind Brady for two years, had his fortunes dangle as Roger Goodell and then the judicial system ruled on Brady’s fate and finally took the field with great success, Hogan answered immediately.
“Absolutely,” said Hogan. “On that play I didn’t even realize he got hurt because I was coming off to the sideline and then I looked back and saw Jimmy on the ground and you hate to see that.”
Hogan had three catches for 47 yards in the first half. He was one of the many beneficiaries of Garoppolo’s ability to buy a little time, step up in the pocket and deliver. Hogan’s biggest catch came on a high throw down the middle when he took a shot in the midsection but held on as he hit the deck.
The Dolphins seemed confounded early by Garoppolo getting the ball out quickly on his three-step drops.
Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said the quick release was no surprise.
“Well, I’d like to think that that would be smart of anybody standing back there with the kind of guys that we have, but that’s something that we have to know going in,” said Wake. “We have very talented front guys that get after the quarterback and if I was a quarterback I wouldn’t hold on to the ball either. That’s something that, again, you have to know going into the game we have to play accordingly. Again, trying to force their hand into our situation instead of the other way around is something that we have to do going forward.”
The Dolphins tinkered with their defense enough to make Garoppolo have to move a little more off his spot. That Garoppolo was forced to survey a little longer and throw under greater duress ultimately was a precursor to the hit from linebacker Kiko Alonso that drove Garoppolo from the game.
It was the kind of hit that maybe, if Garoppolo had more game reps, he might have taken measures to avoid since the risk-reward of a backpedaling throw off one’s back foot often equals a rough landing.
It’s the kind of play that, until a quarterback ends up on the wounded end of it, he may not even realize the risk involved.
Wake said he wasn’t surprised by Garoppolo’s command.
“I think people – generally – people fail to realize how small the difference is between a number one, and a two, and a three, and a four,” he theorized. “This is the NFL; everybody here is the best in the world. So, I don’t know if people think that the number two guy is going to be a bum. That would be silly. I don’t think our number two guy at any positon is a bum and it’s probably the same thing across the board of any team that’s in this league. To expect that he would’ve come out and laid an egg, I don’t understand that.”
Garoppolo got laid out. But he definitely didn’t lay an egg.