Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t going to beat the Cardinals

Sep 9, 2016, 5:00 PM | Updated: Sep 10, 2016, 6:48 pm

New England Patriots' Jimmy Garoppolo (10) looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers during the s...

New England Patriots' Jimmy Garoppolo (10) looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

When the Arizona Cardinals kick off their 2016 season on Sunday Night Football, it will be considered a marquee matchup against an AFC powerhouse in the New England Patriots.

But it’s not actually those Patriots.

As we all know, New England will be without star quarterback Tom Brady when they face Arizona, and another three games after that, due to his “Deflategate” suspension.

His replacement will be third-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has thrown a total of 31 regular season passes.

Garoppolo saw time in the Pats’ first three preseason games, completing 36-of-54 passes (66.7%) for 406 yards (7.5 yards per attempt) with one touchdown and one lost fumble. He was sacked three times.

On the surface those number look excellent, but when you go through and watch all of his throws, they’re a mirage.

The bulk of the yardage came on a handful of plays. The Patriots got 56 on a screen pass. They amassed 17 more on a designed swing pass with blockers set up in front, and 14 more came on another screen. Take away that yardage and Garoppolo’s yards per attempt drops from 7.5 to 6.2 — the equivalent of being in the top half half of YPA last season to the third-worst in front of only Nick Foles and Ryan Mallett.

It would be stunning if the Patriots’ offense wasn’t designed around a heavy rushing attack, quick-hitting screens to wide receivers and running backs and simple, one-read timing routes.

When Garoppolo had a perfectly clean pocket, and was able to connect with his first read, he had success — his throws were accurate, on time and in rhythm.

The issues occurred when Garoppolo had to move his eyes and deal with the muck. He had an ability to evade pass rushers, but he didn’t do it smoothly. His feet became jumpy and he’d often find himself in a panic.

If the Cardinals’ run defense continues its trend of being elite and forces New England to have to deal with 3rd-and-long situations, it should be able to force Garoppolo into multiple turnovers or, at worst, an inefficient completion percentage.

The Pats’ offense with Brady was based around a quick-hitting passing game to shifty receivers and their monstrous tight end, Rob Gronkowski. But Brady’s feel for the pocket and ability to find second, third and fourth options is going to be missed significantly.

It will be key for the Cardinals’ linebackers and defensive backs to stay disciplined and tackle well as Bill Belichick tries to scheme around Garoppolo’s weaknesses when New England does throw.

Those are the two major points for them to not let Garoppolo get comfortable doing what he did well in the preseason.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Michael Wilson catches a pass in Week 2...

Tyler Drake

Michael Wilson’s comfort level within Cardinals offense continues to evolve

Michael Wilson continues to impress for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023. The next step is getting him more involved as a pass catcher.

11 hours ago

Joshua Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals QB vs. the Dallas Cowboys...

Haboob Blog

‘Speeding in a school zone’: Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs pushed 20 mph vs. Cowboys

Joshua Dobbs is not Kyler Murray, but he's been a threat to run just like the recovering Arizona Cardinals startering quarterback.

18 hours ago

Presented By...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Arizona Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs talks win over the Cowboys

Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports Subscribe to the Arizona Sports daily newsletter: Read articles from Arizona Sports: Download the Arizona Sports app: Sign up for texts from Arizona Sports: Listen live to Arizona Sports: Follow the team: ARIZONA SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: X: TikTok: […]

20 hours ago

Joshua Dobbs celebrates with Monti Ossenfort after a Week 3 win over the Dallas Cowboys...

Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs comes full circle in win over Cowboys

The Arizona Cardinals' 28-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys was certainly a game to remember in more ways than one for QB Joshua Dobbs.

21 hours ago

Kyzir White celebrates with Jonathan Gannon in Week 3...

Tyler Drake

Kyzir White proving Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals right early into Arizona tenure

Kyzir White has been everything and more for a scrappy Cardinals defense led by head coach Jonathan Gannon and DC Nick Rallis.

1 day ago

Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a touchdown with teammate James Conner #6 dur...

Wills Rice

Gannon after 10 analysts pick Cowboys to beat Cardinals: ‘Good’

Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon had a brief word for all 10 analysts that predicted the Cowboys to beat the Cardinals in Week 3.

1 day ago

Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t going to beat the Cardinals