It looks like Tom Brady could indeed be suspended by the NFL for his role in Deflategate, which would mean the defending Super Bowl champions heading into the 2015 season without their best player. For how long remains unknown, but anything more than a game or two could seriously derail New England’s hopes of another deep playoff run.
This assumes, of course, that they don’t have complete confidence in backup Jimmy Garoppolo, the 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois who made six appearances last season, completing 19 of 27 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.
CSNNE.com’s Mike Giardi reports that the Patriots are bracing for a suspension of 6-8 games. Whatever happens, Garoppolo’s personal passing coach has no doubt that the second-year quarterback can be successful in Brady’s absence.
“From the exchanges I’ve had with Jimmy, I can tell you Tom’s been great with him, and helping him understand NFL defenses, along with the offense,” Jeff Christiansen told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “He’s got nothing but great things to say about the whole situation. He feels very fortunate.
“With Tom’s professionalism and willingness to help the kid,” he added, “I’m sure he’ll do real well if that happens.”
If Garoppolo is thrust into the lineup, he will have had the benefit of sitting and watching one of the all-time greats hone his craft. It’s not that different from Brady’s experiences 14 years ago.
“There’s a process involved, and what really helped Tom early on in his career, was that Drew Bledsoe was wonderful with him,” Christiansen said. “Drew was a very bright guy, and passed on some stuff to Tom when he got hurt.
“With the defenses now, there’s always adjustments, and adjustments inside adjustments, and so on. It’s an ever-changing thing. That’s why he feels fortunate to have Tom and Bill on his side.”
Christiansen plans to work with Garoppolo in July and he’ll make a visit to Foxoborough a month later when the Patriots host the Packers in a preseason game.
“For Jimmy, it’ll come back to technique, it’ll come back to how quick you get the ball out,” Christiansen said. “And because he’s got Josh [McDaniels, the offensive coordinator] and Bill [Belichick] and Tom on his side, he’ll be mentally prepared.
“Having said all that, I don’t think Tom’s going to miss a game.”
The Patriots certainly hope Christiansen is right, though it appears that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will announce a Brady suspension next week.