The beginning of Patriots 2015 season we feature QB#2 on the Patriots depth chart. It could be two weeks or four depending on the final decision of Tom Brady’s appeal. But jimmy Garoppolo will be taking the reigns as the starter, maybe possibly as the future of the Patriot organization.
27 – The number of pass attempts in 2014.
19 – The number of completions
20% – Completion when blitzed (just five drop-backs and five attempts)
5 – The number of picks thrown in a practice last week
100% – The percentage of Patriots fans who, even for just a second, felt despair after hearing the news of Garoppolo’s five picks during practice.
Looking at the film:
The first thing I wanted to do when I turned on the tape of Garoppolo in New England was check how offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, called the game. I charted each snap in the two games where he took more than ten snaps ( Kansas City, Buffalo) charting what personnel package the Patriots used and whether or not they motioned. This is similar to a game chart a team uses when charting their own team or scouting an opponent.
For those who don’t know how the chart works, here is a quick breakdown: Outside of unorthodox formations, an offense will line up with a quarterback and five linemen. What is left are five available spots for any given play, and those are filled by running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers. The personnel groupings are named by using two numbers. The first being the number of running backs, and the second number is the tight ends.
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||VS. Buffalo Bills|
|Personnel Package||Run||Pass||Personnel Package||Run||Pass|
The first thing that stands out is that the offense did not hold back with Garoppolo at the helm. It’s obvious to see that both McDaniels and Bill Belichick wanted to see what they have in their backup quarterback. As with most NFL teams 11 personnel was the dominant package used (one back, one tight end) and, as is common in New England, there were a bunch of two tight end formations and stacked looks. McDaniels – a great playcaller – mixed it up well and as you would expect for a young quarterback there was plenty of movement, misdirection, play action and motion as they looked to tip off Garoppolo to the defensive coverage.
I was extremely impressed with Garoppolo’s quick, compact release. He gets rid of the ball in a hurry and is decisive with where he wants to go with it. Ball location and protection is a worry but it’s a small sample size and these were some of his very first NFL snaps so I don’t want to draw too big a conclusion. The biggest area of concern, so far, is his footwork. Sloppy drop backs, throwing off balance, not resetting. They are all issues that disrupt the timing of the offense and most importantly affect his accuracy.
The Patriots looked to take advantage of Garoppolo’s athletic ability with a read-option and quarterback power play against Buffalo. He’s athletic enough for the Pats to mix in some fun quarterback reads and to force the defense to prepare for it and to be aware of it in running situations.
It’s difficult to take too much away from just a few snaps. What is clear is that Garoppolo can make all the throws and he is willing to pull the trigger quick enough to fit into the Patriots timing offense. He offers another dimension with his legs but has work to do with his footwork and ball location. I would expect an improvement with another full offseason of split reps but Patriot fans should be extremely encouraged by what he’s done so far.