Thursday night’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was easily one of the most embarrassing of Tom Brady’s career. Brady was benched with the New England Patriots trailing 41-7 in the fourth quarter. The move was probably more about preserving Brady’s health than giving rookie Jimmy Garoppolo some regular season reps, but there has already been (ridiculous) speculation about a quarterback controversy in New England.
Garoppolo, a former Eastern Illinois star, completed 6-of-7 passes and threw a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski after taking over for Brady. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Brady avoided Garoppolo when the rookie left the field.
Tom Brady gave passive high-fives to the other offensive players coming off the field — Gronk, Julian Edelman, the offensive linemen — but stayed clear of Garoppolo. Brady didn’t offer him any congratulations or daps.
When they returned to the bench, (Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) sat in between them — Brady on the bench, Garoppolo on a water cooler. The two quarterbacks didn’t appear to speak. Brady watched the rest of the game silently with his arms folded, with no teammate coming within 20 feet of him.
Does this mean anything? Probably not, but Volin included it in his write-up for a reason. There are several reasons Brady may have had for not giving Garoppolo a high-five, and I doubt any of them have to do with No. 12 fearing that his job is in jeopardy.
While Brady’s skills are clearly declining (he is 37, after all), New England’s biggest issue is its offensive line. Brady has no time to throw on most plays and very few weapons to throw to. That disrupts the entire rhythm of a quarterback even on the rare occasions when they are given time to throw.
Brady and the entire Patriots offense are off to a horrendous start. They squeaked by the Oakland Raiders at home last week, managing just 16 points. Brady turns 38 next season and is under a team-friendly contract through 2017. Garoppolo isn’t going to take his job, but don’t be surprised if Tom Terrific has trouble living up to his nickname for the remainder of his career.
PS: We all know what Brady is really mad about.