Are Patriots Smart To Push Jimmy Garoppolo To Play With Shoulder Injury?


Jimmy Garoppolo was in so much pain Sunday after taking a shot from Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso and having 464 pounds — including his own weight — land on his right shoulder that he barely could walk off the field.

Now the Patriots reportedly are pushing their quarterback to play sooner than later because Tom Brady would have done it?

It’s a strange situation, and that even the possibility of Garoppolo starting Thursday night against the Houston Texans is being mentioned leads one to believe it might happen. The reports are all but calling Garoppolo a wimp. The Patriots reportedly believe he could start. Brady apparently played with the same injury. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did in last year’s playoffs with torn ligaments (and threw for 339 yards, no less).

Maybe the Patriots aren’t crazy. Maybe they know Garoppolo can do it, and now all he needs is an extra push of “Brady” being whispered into his ear in regular intervals to get through the pain to start.

But is this all a bit short-sighted? Are the Patriots better off booting this game to have Garoppolo ready to play in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills rather than risking further injury to him in Week 3, which in turn could knock him out of the next game, causing them to lose both?

It’s a complex situation. And it’s probably one the Patriots’ medical staff and head coach Bill Belichick are turning over in their heads. Is Garoppolo at 50 percent better than Jacoby Brissett at 100 percent? What about Garoppolo at 51 percent?

Does it even matter if they risk further injury to Garoppolo, since Brady is coming back in Week 5 anyway? These quarterback conundrums should go away soon because Brady — AC joint sprain or no — will play in every game in which his body is in one piece.

The Barstool Sports podcast “Pardon My Take” has a sardonic segment called “hurt or injured,” in which they determine if a player is just that — hurt or injured. Quarterbacks — the real ones, at least in the tough-guy NFL world — typically are considered “hurt” unless their ACL is severed or there’s a bone sticking through their skin.

Garoppolo probably would raise his value on the open market if he decides to play hurt, hop himself up on pain killers and give it his all against Houston prior to a long break before Week 4. It would be a potential legendary, star-turning performance — unless Garoppolo’s shoulder causes his passes to flutter.

But Belichick constantly preaches what’s best for the team. If Garoppolo is healthy enough to play, that’s what’s best for the team. And if not? Apparently that’s starting Jacoby Brissett and using Julian Edelman as a backup QB, as preposterous as that sounds.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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