Patriots

Who will be Tom Brady's backup now that Jimmy Garoppolo is gone?

Who will be Tom Brady's backup now that Jimmy Garoppolo is gone?

On the night the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round more than three years ago, adding him to a quarterback room that featured Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett, Bill Belichick explained his team's reasoning.

"We know what Ryan’s contract situation is. We know what Tom’s age and contract situation is," Belichick said. "I don’t think you want to have one quarterback on your team. I don’t think that’s responsible to the entire team or the organization."

Now that the team has opted to send Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick, that's what the Patriots are at the moment: A one-quarterback team. 

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It won't last long, of course. They'll bring in someone to back up Brady in the immediate future. Then perhaps in the spring, during what is considered to be a draft loaded with quarterback talent, they'll add a longer-term option as the No. 2. 

But let's focus on the here-and-now: Who will be the next man up should Brady be forced to miss any time in 2017? 

The first and most obvious option might be former 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer. Soon after the news of the Garoppolo trade was confirmed, ESPN reported that Hoyer had been released by San Francisco. And NFL Network reported that Hoyer was actually included in the trade initially. 

Hoyer signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and spent three seasons in New England as Brady's backup. Since being released before the start of the 2012 season, he's spent time with the Steelers, Cardinals, Browns, Texans, Bears and Niners. 

This season in San Francisco he has completed 119 of 205 attempts (58 percent) for 1,245 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. For his career, the 32-year-old carries a 59.3 completion percentage and he's thrown 48 touchdowns against 30 picks. 

Other backup options for the Patriots now that they're without Garoppolo and 2016 third-round pick Jacoby Brissett, who was dealt to the Colts earlier this season in exchange for receiver Phillip Dorsett? 

The Patriots have reportedly worked out three quarterbacks who are still available, including Matt Barkley, Thad Lewis and Matt McGloin

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots also worked out quarterback Garrett Grayson earlier this month. The 26-year-old, a third-round pick of the Saints in 2015, signed with the Falcons practice squad soon thereafter. 

Another option might be former Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who was with the Patriots practice squad in late September and early October before being released. An undrafted player in 2015, Heinicke had an impressive preseason during his rookie year and ended up as the team's third-string quarterback. He dealt with injuries last season and had trouble re-gaining his first-year form this summer. 

The player who makes the most sense would be Hoyer because of his experience and his background in the Patriots offense. But just because it makes sense doesn't mean it will happen. 

Just a few hours ago it made all the sense in the world for Belichick to hold onto Garoppolo for the remainder of the 2017 season.

QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

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QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

Jerod Mayo talks with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry about the Patriots AFC Championship matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

(2:00) Jerod Mayo gives his X’s and O’s breakdown of the Jaguars defensive schemes and traits.

(5:00) Jerod gives his opinion on how the Patriots offense should attack the Jaguars defense.

(8:30) Could Gronkowski be the key to the Patriots offense? What would be the best way to use him?

(15:00) Does the Jaguars defense have a weakness against vertical routes?

(17:00) Jerod Mayo explains why James White could be a key once again for the Patriots. 

(21:00) Will Jaguars change their defensive scheme after allowing 42 to the Steeler?

(23:00) Will much will the Jaguars having the ‘nothing to lose’ mindset impact the game?

Jaguars have Ramsey's back

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Jaguars have Ramsey's back

Enough has been made of Jalen Ramsey’s bold proclamation that the Jaguars are going to win the Super Bowl despite the fact that they’re aren’t even on that stage yet.

I know it’s not how the Patriots do business but other teams do. Does it generally work? Well, no one can match the Pats sustainability but that doesn’t mean that style can’t be effective in shorter windows.

Look at the Seahawks or Ravens. Even the Giants could be boisterous. That leads me back to the Jags, who have Ramsey’s back.

“We’re so close that I think it’s OK to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this,’’’ said defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

“The man has confidence in his team,” added Abry Jones, also a defensive tackle. “What’s he going to say? He knows what we’re going up there to do. It’s not like he’s saying anything that’s not true.”

“He does things very passionately,” Calais Campbell told the Rich Eisen show. “You feed off that. When you see a guy who loves the game as much as he does, you can’t help but fall into the same mentality.”

That is what makes Ramsey different from say Mike Mitchell, the Steelers safety who ran his mouth weeks ago about beating the Patriots in the AFC title game and then stood outside the Jags locker room and yapped about what a long day the visitors were in forSunday. How’s that working out for Mitchell now? He’s at home while Ramsey is about to play in his biggest game as a pro.

“He’s going to talk, but he’s going to show up,” Yannick Ngakoue said. “I just don’t like people talking all week. You talk reckless, man, and you lose. It is what it is.”

That is not an indicator to the Jags that Ramsey is looking ahead.

“He’s just happy,” noted Ngakoue. “He understands we have a giant in front of us and he’s got to pay all of his attention to this team. We don’t even know who’s going to play in the Super Bowl…We understand we have to do what we have to do or we’ll be watching the Super Bowl at home like everybody else.”

Of course, Ngakoue, the gifted edge rusher on that fearsome front 4, had some pointed words to the Steelers after that 45-42 win Sunday saying “real people don’t say nothing. Real people are quiet but then throw the first punch…they thought they were bullies today. We were the bullies. See you next year.”

That’s not Ramsey’s modus operandi however. He got under A.J. Green’s skin so much that the normally peaceful Bengals wideout threw punches at the Jags corner during the game and reportedly wanted more after the game. Then - and now - Jacksonville seems okay with it so long as the All-Pro corner continues to deliver the goods.

“Everybody has their own persona,” said Leonard Fournette. “Whatever motivates them. We aren’t worried about two weeks ahead of us. We aren’t worried about the Super Bowl. It’s the next game. It’s Sunday in New England.”

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