The entire NFL world continues to be enveloped by the Deflategate situation and all that surrounds it, but there hasn't been much made of the actual impact it might have on the Patriots on the football field itself. As it stands now, Tom Brady will be forced to serve a four-game suspension to open the season, and if his pending appeal does not result in a complete elimination of that harsh penalty, the team will likely be forced to go with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.
Assuming this is the case - at least for the opener - that would leave Garrett Gilbert, who finished last season on the practice squad, as the only other quarterback currently on the roster. Gilbert has no NFL experience after being drafted in the sixth round by St. Louis last year. He was cut and placed on the Rams practice squad but was let go midway through the season before landing in New England last December.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is: Should the Patriots sign a veteran quarterback to back up Jimmy Garoppolo early in the season?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
There is a lot that goes into playing quarterback in the NFL and having someone who's done it before certainly helps. Hopefully Jimmy Garoppolo steps in during the time that Tom Brady is out, performs well, stays healthy and the team is able to win some games. But if that doesn't happen, it would be nice to fall back on a veteran who has some experience.
If Brady is only out of a game then it's not that big a deal. But if it's four games then Bill Belichick needs to find an alternative better than Garrett Gilbert. Belichick likes to talk about routine things like knowing where the play clock is and taking the snap from center - in other words things that veterans have done and are comfortable with.
There are generally quarterbacks with some experience available (maybe try to lure Jake Locker out of retirement?) and adding one to help Garoppolo would be wise.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
I don't see the need to add a veteran backup just for the sake of experience. Jimmy Garoppolo will be dealing with enough pressure trying to replace Tom Brady. The last thing he needs to do is look over his shoulder at a veteran should he suffer through some periods when his production isn't where it needs to be.
Obviously the Patriots will have to have a backup on the roster during the time that Brady is out. If Garrett Gilbert proves worthy of such a position then his lack of experience doesn't bother me. If he's not, then Bill Belichick will need to find another alternative - but not necessarily some retread backup with experience.
If Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett were available - players with experience in the Patriots system - then I'd be all for the veteran. But that's not the case, and I'd rather have someone who at least has an understanding of the team's offense than a guy who's proven to be not good enough to start elsewhere around the league.
Veteran backups make fans breathe easier but their backups for reason - they're not good enough. Find someone you're comfortable with, regardless of experience.