Should Jimmy Garoppolo play or shouldn't he? That question was asked many times over leading up to New England's game with Buffalo last week.
Garoppolo impressed in six quarters of work as Tom Brady's fill-in before suffering a Grade 2 AC joint sprain against the Dolphins in Week 2. The injury knocked him out of that game, and he was unable to play on short rest the following week against the Texans.
When the Bills game approached, there were some who suggested Garoppolo should play in order to give the Patriots their best chance to win against a Rex Ryan-coached defense. He practiced that week, and reporters saw him make warmup throws in practice. However, on the day of the game, it was determined that Garoppolo's shoulder hadn't progressed to the point where he was the team's best option. Rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett got the start despite dealing with a thumb injury that would eventually require surgery.
When the dust settled on Brady's four-game suspension, what looked like it might have been a four-week showcase of Garoppolo's skill turned into a brief but impressive game-and-a-half of work.
"Disappointing injury and all that, but it was good," Garoppolo told Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran following Sunday's win over the Browns. "It was a good experience. Glad I got to do it, and now we're just rolling with the rest of the season."
Garoppolo was healthy enough to dress and serve as Brady's backup in Cleveland. When he was asked about some of the questions surrounding his toughness that lingered before and after the loss to Buffalo, Garoppolo insisted he hadn't paid attention to any of it.
"I didn't listen to any of it," he said. "I never really listen to the media, no offense or anything. But I don't know. It is what it is. It sucks that you can't be out there with your team. You want to be out there and everything, but injuries, they are what they are. It's hard."