In light of how bad Johnny Manziel looked on MNF last night and how good the Patriots own rookie quarterback has looked so far, it seems like a good time for a little “perspective” talk.
If I’ve learned anything during a lifetime of sweating Patriots Training Camp and August fauxball games, it’s that you can’t rush to judgment on these guys. Preseason means nothing. What you see in practice means even less. You can barely jump to impressions, never mind conclusions based on what they look like running drills, doing 7-on-7s and playing against other teams’ bottom-of-the-roster meatsacks who’ll be searching the Craigslist Help Wanteds by the time the games count. I’ve fallen in love with too many guys who looked like the Next Big Thing only to see them washing out of the CFL that I know I should tack the old Parcells line “Let’s not put this guy in Canton just yet” onto the end of every positive thing I say about any rookie.
That’s “if” I’ve learned anything. Which I clearly haven’t. Because after two games and only a handful of drives in fake football games, I’m going all in on Jimmy Garoppolo. When they drafted him, I was Garoppolo-curious. In the first weeks of camp, as bad as he looked, I was mildly infatuated. After that first game against Washington, I was smitten. But by his second touchdown against the Eagles it was full on, moist, throbbing bromance. Fuck caution or taking it slow and all that. This is manlove. Everything about the kid comes as advertised. He can pull off a designed roll out and deliver a ball on the run like the one to James Develin on his second play . He can slide away from pressure, keep his eyes upfield and never lose his mechanics or throw off his back foot. He’s got escapability like no other QB we’ve had since Doug Flutie. He can stand in a pocket and throw with accuracy, like the crossing route Brandon LaFell caught at the sidelines for 25 yards on 3rd & 7 with Jason Phillips bearing down on him. But possibly the most telling play was when he had a back (I forget which one) uncovered underneath but still took his time looking deep and going through his progressions before he settled for the dump off. It was a veteran play, and showed a kind of patience that’s way more important than just being one of those Jamarcuses who can throw a ball 60 yards from his knees or whatever.
So the bottom line is no, it’s not too soon to be completely taken in by this kid. He had me at “hello.” He had me at “Three touchdown drives in two games.” I love him. I love him for the quarterback he wants to be. And I love him for the quarterback he almost is. And I love him because he means we no longer have to worry about whether we’re going to be winning the AFC East 15 years from now. Because right now he’s the second best QB in the division. @JerryThornton1
PS. Jimmy G-spot’s performance isn’t even the best rookie news the Patriots have gotten this week.
Easley’s 1st rush blazed by C Ryan Wendell’s inside shoulder; 2nd rush beats G Dan Connolly to outside; 3rd rush a dynamic sudden spin move.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 18, 2014
I think I just leaked a little. [h/t to @PatriotsSB49]