The New England Patriots traded Ryan Mallett to the Houston Texans for a conditional draft pick Sunday, and that means rookie Jimmy Garoppolo will serve as the backup quarterback.
Trusting a second-round pick for this role is a bit of a risk for the Patriots. If Tom Brady ever got hurt and couldn’t play, the Patriots no longer would be favored to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but they still could be a playoff team with a competent backup.
Remember the 2008 season when Matt Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record when Brady was lost for the season in Week 1?
To be fair to Garoppolo, he played very well in the preseason. He completed 58.2 percent of his passes, racked up 618 yards and threw for five touchdowns with only one interception. He started the fourth and final preseason game against the New York Giants and handled himself well. His lack of experience is a real concern, but Mallett had very little regular-season experience despite spending three seasons with New England.
Garoppolo might replace Brady as the Patriots’ starting quarterback some day, but if he has to step this season, do you trust him to win games?