The New England Patriots have, since learning that star quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended for the opening four games of the 2015 season, been hyping up his back up, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Despite only heading into his second season in the league there has been much talk about how Garoppolo can fill the gap with good effect, and could ultimately be the man to replace the Super Bowl MVP.
Reports coming out of the team's OTAs yesterday, though, will have those involved at the franchise a little worried as the Patriots were handed a stark reminder that it isn't easy to replace a four time Super Bowl winner.
With the Patriots giving both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo control of the offense at different stages of run outs on Thursday, it sounds like the former had a nightmare session of fairly impressive proportions.
Granted, OTAs are not equatable to a NFL atmosphere and intensity and, at this stage of proceedings, the team is simply trying to get back in the groove. Still, Garoppolo isn't new to the offense and would have been hoping to put on a good showing from the outset as he prepares himself for much bigger challenges to come.
Indeed, the second-year QB's five interceptions look even worse when you discover that four of them came when the Patriots were running through a situation Tom Brady has thrived in during his career:
The Patriots' own official website noted how Garoppolo struggled specifically with "slow reads, balls thrown behind intended targets, late throws and turnovers."
Time to recover
Still a couple of months off opening night against the Pittsburgh Steelers there is plenty of time for Jimmy Garoppolo to fine tune. Nevertheless, this poor showing will slow down those attempting to claim that Tom Brady's absence won't be much of a factor.
Garoppolo has appeared in six games for the Patriots so far in his young career, completing 19 of 27 pass attempts for 182 yards and one touchdown.
As for Tom Brady, the veteran quarterback is busy preparing an appeal of his four game suspension handed down in light of deflategate. Bill Belichick might have a few extra fingers crossed that the NFL reduces his punishment after yesterday's events.
What do you think? How much will the Patriots miss Brady, and is Garoppolo the man to replace the future Hall of Famer? Have your say in the comments below...
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