Dear Jimmy Garoppolo
Dear Jimmy Garoppolo,
Welcome to your moment.
How’s your summer going, Jimmy? I’m sure you are aware of the situation. Fresh off winning a Super Bowl Ring and then enduring an AFC Championship exit the following year, it is now your 3rd professional football season.
You won a Super Bowl Ring as a rookie 2nd string Quarterback? You are the luckiest man in the NFL, today.
You were drafted 2nd round marking the second highest Quarterback position draft spot in two decades by the organization that selected you.
You were drafted by a Super Bowl dynasty, a juggernaut present in the penultimate or ultimate games of professional football seasons prominently and often.
You are the luckiest dude, Jimmy. And now, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Are you the next up? You get your shot. This shot is a 4 game audition. It’s not a particularly easy schedule of four games before your role as starter is recorded and Thomas Edward Patrick “Tom” Brady Jr, second of his name of the university of Michigan, home of the Wolverines returns to rule on his iron throne of spying scandals and deflated tools of war. You get to prove you’re the next savior, waiting in the wings…or if you’re a good trade piece or starter on a 5–11 squad. It’s your moment. What a lucky guy! You get four games, no matter what to shine.
This is your moment, Jimmy Garoppolo.
I’m not going to sugar-coat the schedule, though. You open on the road. That is your moment. The chatter would be huge if you willed the team to defeat the Arizona Cardinals. You open on the road against the hungry Arizona Cardinals football fresh off an NFC Championship slaughter to the dabbing, dancing runner ups in the Super Bowl.
If you start the season 1–0, you have decided to embrace your potential to eventually take over the New England Patriots whenever Tom Brady feels a bit like Tim Duncan and walks away from Pop and the game except Tom Brady walks away Bill and the game. I feel like there is 1 more ring left to chase, and then the saddles are yours (see Note) so to speak.
Note: The phrase “the saddles are yours” would be ultimately much more appropriate for a Denver Broncos or Indianapolis Colts team.
Week One: Arizona
You’ve got the 1st Sunday Night Football game of the new season. We get to hear all about you, the New England Patriots, and the Arizona Cardinals before Carrie Underwood unveils her new Sunday Night Football song in a video most likely riddled with professional football athletes who are selling a good amount of merchandise and back up those sales through their professional football work. Their craft. Their sport.
We get to hear all about you, Jimmy. It’s your first game. The luckiest audition ever begins.
Can you beat the Arizona Cardinals in the first away game of the season? It’s going to defend on how you handle their NFC superior defense and how your defense maintains a bomb-ready aged Arizona Cardinals gunslinger Carson Palmer.
Will the New England Patriots head back home 1–0 or 0–1?
Week Two: Home Opener
Whether victorious in Arizona or invigorated to not go 0–2, you open at home against the last professional team to beat you in the regular season prior to your AFC Championship game to the eventual Super Bowl Winner, Peyton Manning’s swan song season with the Denver Broncos featuring John Elway. You even played in that game in Miami. Tom Brady was being assaulted by a reputation fight from a talented Dolphins defensive line.
Many will argue that this is the most winnable game, Jimmy. I wouldn’t underestimate the Miami Dolphins but a new coach and new team headed to your home turf, the formidable arena in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
By this point, the chatter about Tom Brady will get louder. The spotlight will get brighter. This is still your moment. You have 3 games left and this is the next one.
Jimmy Garoppolo, don’t get hurt by the Miami Dolphins.
You shouldn’t. So let’s say whether (2–0) or (1–1) because you cannot go 0–2 to start the season for the New England Patriots and get away with it in Boston.
Following a Miami Dolphins victory or defeat, you are onto your third game. This is a short week to host the team that mimics much of what you do.
Four days following the results of Week 2 and you get to compete against the reigning Defensive Player of the Year winning three out of five years since starting his career. Or 3 out of 4 since his rookie year. His name is J.J. Watt.
Good luck, Jimmy.
Week 3: Thursday Night Football
Bill O’Brien, the Rick Ross fan (see HBO’s Hard Knocks with the Houston Texans), comes from the Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots professional coaching legend, coaching tree that all the media analysts love to refer to links to the University of Alabama’s college coaching legend Nick Saban and other Hall of Famers. They even pick up many New England Patriots salary cap victims who cannot be paid their value and give the team flexibility to improve from the previous season.
Two quarterbacks (Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer) and a defensive tackle (Vince Wilfork) later, the Houston Texans are trusting a powerhouse of their top tier talent J. J. Watt and his rejuvenated defense. They found their quarterback- fresh from a graduation of his guru’s mentorship. Brock Osweiler refused to fill the shoes of Peyton Manning who retired to eat Papa John Pizzas and help the Tennessee Volunteers college football program in a return to relevance. Brock got paid by the Houston Texans who refuse to play the quarterback roulette any longer. Lamar Miller, a Dolphins great escapee (See note) will take Arian Foster’s role of running back in a swap scenario leaving the Miami Dolphin’s subject to an All-Pro or oft-injured 30 year old gamble
Note: Newly signed New York Giants former American Senior High Patriot, Olivier Vernon was another escapee.
This should be a victory at home, Jimmy.
I shouldn’t even have to explain how important this moment will be. You are going to fill television sets on the Thursday night across America. This is your moment.
The Houston Texans will be ready and possibly needing a victory if they cannot handle the mediocre Chicago Bears or the playoff bound Kansas City Chiefs.
Jimmy, you can get past this and be 3–0. Your value in your professional football career will never be higher than this point. New England Patriots will know you can do something for the future. Whether to lead another playoff hungry contender years later, or to attempt to fill-in for the household name of Tom Brady.
So at 3–0, or 2–1, or 1–2, you head home to meet another formidable division rival at home.
Week Four: Buffalo
If you’re 0–3 at this point, I’m not sure if you stay. They might give another player a shot. They might just try to manage the game and get to week 5. Tom Brady would be back after this week for a guaranteed win in Cleveland. No matter what.
You know you won’t finish out this season, Jimmy. You will be responsible for 1/3 of the season and Tom Brady will finish with great result.
You’ve made it this far.
Your next challenge is to beat this Rex Ryan band of Buffalo, an injury plagued pre-season product. Their journey against Baltimore’s healthy Raven, the Ryan Fitzpatrick New Jets Experiment and against your week 1 opponent of Arizona.
The chatter will be loud if you failed to defeat Arizona in the season opener and Rex’s team of white, white and blue uniformed Bills managed an upset 6 days prior and are riding into Week 4 with some better betting odds.
This moment is yours, Jimmy Garoppolo.
How do you finish our this four-game show? Did you display your talent and leave the organization who has blessed you, the luckiest man in the NFL, today, with a decision to the make?
Are you the next great Quarterback to torment Jets, Bills and Dolphins fans for years? Or are you the next great starter for the 4–12 to 6–10 record teams? What tier do you belong?
Time will tell.