Rex Ryan isn’t going to be very nice to Jimmy Garoppolo
With the news that Tom Brady’s suspension has been upheld, the New England Patriots must brace themselves to open the season with 2014 second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
Garoppolo fared well during the 2014 preseason, including tying for the week’s highest overall grade among QBs in his debut against the Redskins. However, he found the going much tougher in limited action during the regular season, particularly when stepping in for Brady in the Week 17 game against Buffalo.
In the regular season, Garoppolo had difficulty getting rid of the ball quickly, spending 11 percent more time with the ball in his hand compared to the preseason, and 15 percent longer than Brady. As a result, opponents were able to pressure Garoppolo, and that’s where he struggled. His QB rating was 118.2 without pressure, but plummeted to 57.8 when he was pressured.
It would be unfair to read too much into such a small sample size (he only threw passes in three games, mind you), but like most rookies Garoppolo struggled to make quick decisions, leaned heavily on his check-down options, and had trouble when defenders got in his face.
Those are very worrying traits for a quarterback going up against Rex Ryan and his stacked Bills defense on the road in Week 2. They will seek to make life as uncomfortable as they can for Garoppolo, hoping to gain an advantage over their AFC East rivals, as they are the only one to draw the Patriots during Brady’s suspension. Ryan’s Jets defense blitzed on 33.1 percent of pass plays last season, the 10th-highest rate in the league, and going against a new starter with a loaded defensive front, don’t be surprised if he ratchets up the intensity even further.
That game could prove very important for New England during Brady’s four-game absence, as the opener versus Pittsburgh and a Week 5 trip to Dallas (the Pats face Jacksonville Week 3 and have a bye during Week 4) already look like steep challenges.