FOXBORO -- To think there’d be no further questions about the Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo dynamic when Brady’s four-game suspension ends would be moronic.
Bill Belichick won’t like them. He’s destined to give them the verbal Heisman. But there are aspects to the story which demand further interrogation.
So there’s those questions. And then there’s baiting for the sake of baiting, which is what happened Friday morning.
A reporter asked Belichick, “You said Tom will start when he’s eligible. Can you think of an occasion when you named a Week 5 starter in July?”
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said.
“What happens if Jimmy plays better?”
“Look, I told you what’s gonna happen,” Belichick answered.
Pressing on, the reporter began, “So there’s no, there’s, there’s . . . ”
At that point, with Belichick reacting like he’d come open a month-old-corpse and muttering, “Jesus Christ," the reporter cut himself off.
I’ve been trying to steer clear of the media ombudsman business. But this stuff makes it hard. The first question was obtuse in the extreme. I don’t even know how that gets formulated.
This is not a Brady-Bledsoe scenario.
You have the best quarterback of his generation who – 17 months ago – took down what was supposed to be one of the great defenses in NFL history in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. A guy who got smashed all over the field in Denver at the age of 38 and still almost pulled out a win last January.
When that guy’s cleared to play, you sprint him onto the field regardless of the circumstances.
“If Jimmy plays better . . . ”? Better than what? Better than 11 touchdowns, no picks, 116-for-160 and 1,547 yards, which is what Brady did in the first four games last season? Better than Brady played in Denver while getting his head caved in every other play?
I understand that sometimes you have to ask the dumb question to get something on the record, but this was not that. This seemed like someone who really thought he was onto something. Was going to paint Belichick into an uncomfortable corner and hang him with his own words.
Now, you and I can sit on the front stoop and wonder what happens if Garoppolo plays ridiculously well then Brady comes back and spends four weeks playing like he’s never been on a field before and is clearly an impediment to the team’s success.
Won’t happen. But we can talk about it.
Asking Belichick if he’s gonna go with the hot hand when two days prior he told you what he was going to do is asking for a JC response.
Belichick probably figured that stating Brady was the Week 5 starter before he was asked was the best way to defuse idle speculation. “We’ll see . . . ” or “We always do what’s best for the football team . . . ” would have ignited a thousand hours of conversation about the budding quarterback controversy in New England.
Belichick now knows that the speculation and scenario spinning is coming anyway. JC may hear his name muttered a few more times from the podium between now and October.