Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bob Lobel: Jimmy Garoppolo's Magical Preseason

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Jimmy Football is the heir apparent, apparently. 

This is what our eyes tell us from three preseason friendlies with the Patriots playing one more. And that one more will supposedly be the Jimmy Garoppolo coming out party. Seriously, other than the Mankins trade, has there been any other story line out of Foxboro than the back up quarterback contest?

We all know why this has become so important. 

It's like a presidential primary. The one chosen will occupy the regular touching of the oval football. There has been so much speculation in the past few years that has started with the phrase, “the window is closing.”  It's been a double deal with Brady and Belichick, forever linked in football lore. 

Who made who successful. There is no wrong answer to that question, but the almost impossible question to answer is who replaces Brady, and even more impossible, who replaces Belichick? 

Garoppolo is stealing the show this summer, but there are flaws that only insiders know. The eye test make him look like a more than suitable candidate. Yet, there much more involved than preseason games.  Ryan Mallett has been the good soldier with the greatest job in sports, back up quarterback. 

Ask Zolack. 

Both Mallett and Zolack have been gifted by opportunity. Mallett will have choices. As a free agent, he can stay as backup for as long as Brady lets him, or he can go make a lot of money somewhere else.

Bet on the latter. 

Jimmy football, with good looks that some incredibly say are better than Brady's, has a chance to do the impossible. The axiom is to never take a job after someone who has owned the hearts and minds of the paying public.

Following Brady would be like following Jesus.  Difficult at best. 

However, in this case, Jimmy G may have caught a break. If in fact he gets the nod in the completion with Mallett, people will not be shocked  by the transition. Jimmy G will slide in nicely, depending on the people around him. This is a precarious ledge he is on. Thursday night will be his test.  

The betting is Mallett will go the way of other Brady backups like Hoyer and Cassel and get a team  of his own. Jimmy G will end up being in the right place at the right time. Plus, Brady was a 6th round gift of chance while Jimmy was a  draft pick with a purpose. When you're picked in the 2nd round as a quarterback, they expect you to be just that, a starting quarterback. 

Somebody has to do it here and it looks more and more like this is the one. Of course, we could be wrong. Injury is becoming more and more part of the game. Injury dictates careers and dictates championships. Besides, we have watched a very small sample of Jimmy G playing against inferior talent. 

The best is that he is a work in progress. He needs to demonstrate that he can control tempo and is smart enough to make mental adjustments in the heat of the moment. He will need to have a way of forgetting the good and the bad very quickly. 

That is probably the most difficult task, even with immense talent for the job at hand. That has been the sports story of this August. It has certainly removed most of the angst surrounding the local 9, but remember two years ago with the contract dump to the Dodgers?  Well, so far this year's version is the Cespedes trade and the Cuban connection. 

We have no clue what their pitching staff will look like, so why worry about it. Watch number 10 Thursday and become the general manager. Jimmy Football could be the best thing yet for what ails your fantasy team.

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