The New England Patriots have not had the best of off-seasons to say the very least.
The Patriots lost Pro Bowl cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork all in free agency, leaving their defense looking decimated.
And then there is the DeflateGate saga, that has basically taken over the post-Draft NFL landscape, which came to a grisly conclusion yesterday with the punishment levied against Tom Brady and the organisation being revealed. But something good can come from it.
Blessing in Disguise
Brady may be forced to miss the first four games of the season - potentially reduced to two on appeal - but it allows the Patriots to finally give a real chance to Brady's young backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, which is a real blessing in disguise for New England.
The chance for Garoppolo to finally start some games for the SuperBowl Champions should not be understated as being a good thing for the Patriots at all. Whilst obviously not ideal, it gives Bill Belichick and offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels then opportunity to get a look at the man who could eventually become the face of the franchise in a few years time.
Garoppolo is going to get a chance to prove if he can be the Aaron Rodgers to Tom Brady's Brett Favre, or whether or not he's just another young New England backup who just doesn't cut the mustard under center.
Garoppolo has already proved that he has some talent, throwing just one interception in his entire career with the Patriots. He went 46 for 79 in the preseason with five touchdowns and an interception, before then going 19 for 27 for 182 yards with a touchdown in the regular season.
But, leading the offense from start to finish with all that pressure from teammates is a big difference from coming out on to the field in garbage time.
There's a reason the Patriots took Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 Draft, the 23-year old slinger was a star in college, breaking a whole host of records. As a senior in 2013, Garoppolo broke Tony Romo's school records for career passing touchdowns, yards and passing touchdowns in a season. He also won the Walter Payton Award that season, which shows you his pedigree.
Tom Brady is 37-years old now and could be coming to the end of his career in the next few years. This is the perfect time for the Patriots to audition Garoppolo as his eventual successor, thanks to the Deflategate ban that has angered them so much.
DO YOU THINK JIMMY GAROPPOLO IS TOM BRADY'S LONG-TERM SUCCESSOR? TELL US BELOW..
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