Recently in an interview on NFL Network, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the drafting of QB Jimmy Garoppolo was “disaster insurance.” The move was an effort to have a plan in case Tom Brady, who will turn 37 this season, suffers a Drew Bledsoe type injury.
Bill Belichick cited another example for the Garoppolo pick, the 2011 Indianapolis Colts who lost Peyton Manning to a neck-injury and proceeded to go 2-14 with Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky playing at QB. The pick was to ensure the Patriots are “competitive even if something happens to a player at any position.” Belichick also took a subtle jab at the Colts organization saying “I think organizationally, in our organization I don’t think we would put together a team the way Indianapolis did it when they lost Manning.”
None of this should make fans of the Patriots feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s routine comedy because Belichick couldn’t draft a decent QB unless he was gifted one through some cosmic accident, like Brady. I’ve written about Belichick’s inability to groom or develop QBs and I stand firm in that belief. What about the 11-5 season in 2008 with Matt Cassel the naysayers will argue? You mean the season he lost seven more games than Brady did with the same supporting cast and missed the playoffs? A circus clown could’ve gone 11-5 with that offense, but Brady went 18-0 before Belichick’s defensive failures ruined his chances at a perfect season.
In getting back to Garoppolo, how exactly could a rookie from an FCS school be considered quality “disaster insurance?” What does that make Ryan Mallett, the third-round pick from 2011? Disaster-disaster insurance like we’re watching Any Given Sunday and the unthinkable could happen? The only disaster Garoppolo could prevent is spit in the water-cooler.
The more Patriots fans think about the pick, the more upset they should be. Brady is nearing the end of his career, the offense has numerous problems that need to be addressed and the defense has been abominable since Spygate. So, what do the Patriots do with their second-round pick? They waste it on a QB who gives people visions of Tony Romo, because who doesn’t want a Romo clone wearing the Flying Elvis under center? If you raised your hand, then I give up.
More precisely, anything Garoppolo can do, Mallett would be equally inept at accomplishing, and if the Patriots organization was honest with itself, the moment Brady retires the bandwagon is going to be empty. Do you think anyone is going to be on the bandwagon for Belichick, the same coach who couldn’t buy a win before Brady showed up? This is the defensive genius with a losing record as a head coach until Brady — and possibly Spygate — saved his sorry backside. Forget about it. The sheen on that diamond will fade quickly when everyone realizes it was Brady, not Belichick, who led the team to victory.
The Patriots didn’t need any sort of asinine insurance policy. What they needed were weapons to improve the team’s chances of actually winning a Super Bowl, something they haven’t done since 2004. They needed to revamp the wide receivers, akin to what they accomplished in 2007 when they added Randy Moss and Wes Welker and had the under-appreciated Jabar Gaffney.
They needed to find a replacement for Stevan Ridley, who makes Patriots fans cringe every time he touches the ball because they know a crucial fumble is coming. They should have drafted Jace Amaro or Troy Niklas, because Rob Gronkowski apparently has the bones of an AARP member. Not to mention, it’s a passing friendly league and it’s almost illegal to even stare cross-eyed at a QB, so Brady getting injured should be the least of the team’s concerns. Even if Brady got injured, to believe Garoppolo would repeat the 11-5 of Cassel is ludicrous, because Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins are not Moss, Welker and Gaffney.
Garoppolo would turn the team into the 2011 Colts or worse. The selection was a blatant slap in the face to Brady and an acknowledgement by the Patriots organization that they have no loyalty to him or the fans. Making the playoffs seems to be enough for Belichick, Kraft and most Patriots fans, because truth be told, Garoppolo isn’t “disaster insurance” — he is the disaster.