Patriots

Patriots

The Patriots are so good that we care about them practicing poorly.

Jimmy Garoppolo had a bad scrimmage Friday. He stunk, completing only 14 of 36 passes, in a performance that only adds to a reputation that he’s never been a good practice player at the NFL level. 

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In years past, or certainly in a different market, this would be but a footnote. The hyper-focused media of 2017 means that players’ practice snaps are counted and reported diligently. It’s useful information to have, but when you add an overload of information to a sports-obsessed town like Boston, you get people turning that footnote into an actual talking point. 

But it wasn’t just around here. Here’s what Mike Florio wrote in a post titled “Jimmy Garoppolo stinks it up in first 2017 scrimmage” on Pro Football Talk: 

It’s not quite yet time to send #Tommy floating on a sheet of ice.

Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, heralded as the real deal and suspected by some to be the potential choice to succeed Brady as soon as 2018, had a rough time at a scrimmage on Friday. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald describes the performance as “woeful.”

Garoppolo completed 14 of 36 passes (38.8 percent), leading his team to four field goals in nine drives.

Yes, Garoppolo didn’t have a star-studded cast of supporting characters. He nevertheless didn’t get it done, and to a certain extent it’s on him.

 

'You’re never happy about the incompletions, interceptions or anything like that, but it’s training camp,' Garoppolo said, via Howe. 'We’ll learn from those situations. We always go back, watch the film, and just diagnose what happened and what we could do to fix that.'

Plenty of fixins may be needed before Garoppolo is ready to be the week-in, week-out option, especially since he wasn’t able to get through his four-week audition healthy in 2016.

How much does this actually matter? Nobody thinks the sky is falling, but do any of the teams that tried trading for Garoppolo this offseason suddenly feel like they dodged a bullet? They shouldn’t, because they have as much game tape on Garoppolo today as they did three months ago. 

That and the fact that this is now Year 2 of fretting over Garoppolo’s play in situations that count. There were similar concerns last year, especially after he struggled — and got outperformed by then rookie Jacoby Brissett -- in the third preseason game against the Panthers. 

So all this leaves one to wonder what is the fluke: His brilliant six quarters of actual NFL football or his wholly unimpressive showings on the practice field and in exhibitions. One of those situations actually affects a team’s record and the other doesn’t. 

In some weird, twisted way, the us-against-the-world Patriots fans should take pride in this. The Patriots are so loaded this season that the biggest concern is how their backup quarterback -- whom they can seemingly exchange for a bevy of picks whenever they want -- doesn’t look as good when it doesn’t count as he does when it does count. 

Garoppolo looks bad in practice. That being the most negative thing about the Patriots right now means the 2017 season looks amazing for the Patriots. 

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