To post even a 2-2 record, New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will need some help from his teammates. This team won’t get by with Tom Brady heroics in September; it’s going to take a team effort to keep the ship afloat.
Here are eight players who will help Garoppolo the most:
8. LeGarrette Blount
It is paramount that the Patriots provide a formidable ground attack so that Garoppolo can thwart the play-action fake against fierce pass rushes. Leading that charge, quite literally, will be Blount. As a straight-line, north-south runner, a healthy Blount is one of the better downhill ball carriers in the league. It is rare when Blount gets stopped in his tracks by a defender; more often, Blount gets dragged down after squeezing out another half-yard or more.
If defenses are forced to respect Blount, Garoppolo will benefit greatly. Early indications are that the Patriots will feed Blount in September so that Garoppolo has some pressure eased off him immediately. It should also be mentioned that interior linemen like Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and Josh Kline as well as Bryan Stork and/or David Andrews are integral in Blount having success in 2016.
Next: 7. Dont’a Hightower/Jamie Collins