The rise of fall is almost here.
As summer tends to go, you blink and you’re back in the lecture hall, creating a new password for your tablet, and certainly, preparing your mind and body for another year of NFL football. The last few seasons have been more of a roller coaster than anything you’re likely to find at Six Flags. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Roger Goodell breathes a cathartic sigh of relief when there is actual football to be played. Giving the fans and media a good reason to divert their attention from the microscope the commissioner is under.
Despite being one of the most successful sports franchises of the twenty-first century, The New England Patriots always seem to be situated at the center of controversy, the latest of which is the nearly perpetual saga known as Delfategate. Tom Brady’s battle with the league and the Court of Appeals finally turned into a war of attrition, culminating with Brady’s acceptance of his four game suspension to begin the 2016 season. The last course of action he could’ve taken, was an appeal to the Supreme Court. So, after all that, football will be played in the very near future. Starting the first quarter of the season without their signal caller will not be a death knell for New England, and here are four reasons why:
Garoppolo Gets a Shot
The last time Jimmy Garoppolo experienced significant time on a football field was when he still wore an Eastern Illinois Panthers uniform. The twenty-four-year-old has yet to cut his teeth in the NFL but this is a fantastic opportunity for Garoppolo build chemistry with a talented group of receivers, and give the Pats a glimpse into their future known as, “Life After Brady.” He stands at 6-foot-2-inches, 225 pounds, making Garoppolo a perfect pocket passer, just like Brady. If all of this weren’t enough, just look at all the successful Jims we have in the United States, like Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jim from “The Office”. This is the chance of a lifetime. He will have the weapons on offense to at least be set up for triumph.
After opening the 2016 on the road, in prime time in Glendale versus the Cardinals, the Pats have three straight home games. This will give Garoppolo a taste of the bright lights, big city atmosphere of taking snaps in Foxborough, with 68,000 fans screaming in support of the home team, which only lost once in Gillette Stadium during the 2015 regular season.
Say Amen! It’s Amendola
Despite suffering a plague of injuries, Danny Amendola is a sure-handed wide-receiver who gets a copious amount of targets. In a season of abridged work, Amendola hauled in 65 receptions for 648 yards. Granted, that was Tom Brady throwing him those footballs, but since his days with the Rams, Amendola is a fantasy owner’s dream, and a coach’s dream. Just ask Matthew Berry of ESPN.
If the Patriots defense were a Disney character, it would not be Scrooge McDuck. This is to say the defense can be generous to its opponents at times, but not this time. Looking to build on its 38 sacks from the 2015 season, the Pats D is anchored Malcolm Brown, Terrance Knighton, and Alan Branch, who had 35 tackles last season. This group will have the benefit of experience, along with early opponents like Miami, whose offense was anything but consistent in 2015, finishing with a 6-10 record. The defense has deceptive talent, and will be looking to make a statement in 2016.
One of man’s greatest phobias is fear of the unknown. In New England, the penultimate unknown is how Bill Belichick’s team will handle the adversity of being down one crucial individual. This won’t be easy, with parity in the NFL it never is. But the healing process is finally underway, and there is reason to be optimistic for a full recovery.