New England Patriots: Now Comes the Hard Part for Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo (10) New England Patriots - Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmy Garoppolo (10) New England Patriots - Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Now, the going gets tougher for New England Patriots quartrback Jimmy Garoppolo. 

It’s fair to say the starting debut of Jimmy Garoppolo for the New England Patriots went quite well. He put in a confident and composed performance in the team’s 23-21 victory at the home of last season’s NFC Championship participants, the Arizona Cardinals. It was a day that he would have dreamed of for years on end and have been preparing for since he was drafted in 2014.

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That preparation resulted in a 24 of 33 for 264 yard performance which featured a well thrown touchdown pass to Chris Hogan. What catches out a lot of players is the day they might prepare the least for in their whole career, the second start.

For all of the time spend building up to that first start, the next one is on you before you know it. Garoppolo of course was preparing to start the 2015 opener until one week beforehand when Tom Brady’s suspension was overturned in court. This time around he would have no such luck with a higher court and the third year man from Eastern Illinois took over the team for the first month.

After his primetime opener against an NFC Super Bowl contender, he will return home to face revitalized division opponent, the Miami Dolphins, in a traditional 1:00 PM Sunday time slot. They will present a different sort of challenge than the Cardinals and they will be feeling pretty confident having held the Seahawks mostly in check during that game. On paper they pose a real danger to Garoppolo with recognized pass rushers up front who will not hesitate to put him on his back if he does not get rid of the ball.

Thankfully Garoppolo has a solid support network around him to get him ready for this difficult start. Having put together an impressive game plan to deal with the Cardinals athletic defensive unit, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be tasked with keeping his quarterback upright.

To counter the Dolphins rush, expect a lot of help pass blocking from the tight ends and running backs as well as a lot of quick throws to get the ball out of his hands. Greg Bedard of the MMQB had timed Garoppolo’s snap to throw during the first three quarters at just over two seconds and if the Dolphins play off coverage on the likes of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, the story from this coming Sunday will follow a similar theme.

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One interesting thing to note, Garoppolo is the third straight Patriots quarterback to have his second career start come against Miami, the last two games had less than ideal results. In 2001 Brady lost 30-10 down in Florida while in 2008, Matt Cassel received his first loss in the infamous Wildcat Game where Ronnie Brown befuddled then ran over the Patriots in a 38-13 blowout.