Sep 22, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks long the sidelines before their game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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The New England Patriots are undefeated despite starting their second- and third-string quarterbacks. With both injured, now is the real test for Bill Belichick
Over the first three weeks of the 2016 NFL season, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has put on a coaching clinic. He’s made a strong case for himself to be on the Mount Rushmore of coaching over his Pats tenure. However, he might be in the middle of his most impressive feat yet
Through three games, we’ve watched him beat a Super Bowl contender Arizona Cardinals team on the road with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. Garoppolo and Belichick then beat up on a division rival in the Miami Dolphins. However, they lost Garoppolo in the first half of that second win. That only led to the most impressive part of the coach’s start.
In Week 3, his team dominated J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans with rookie Jacoby Brissett making his first NFL start. Unfortunately, Brissett has since been diagnosed with torn tendons in his thumb and will miss some time as well. So what now for the Pats?
What they are able to do is unprecedented. Not just this season, but over the past decade-and-a-half. Still, at some point playing without Gronk, multiple key defensive players, and now their top-three quarterbacks on the depth chart has to catch up with them right? Surely Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan can devise a defensive plan to beat whoever the Pats pull off the scrap heap for this game. Maybe not though.
Yes the defense has been incredible and special teams has been awesome. Nevertheless, that’s not what we want to focus on. There is one week before Tom Brady gets to make his triumphant return and they have a nine day window to come up with a starter for Week 4. Let’s take a look at the potential options.
Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
4. Julian Edelman
This is who everyone should be rooting for. Not only would the Pats have a wide receiver playing quarterback, but he’d also be missing his best wideout: himself. Belichick would just be trolling the world if he could win with Edelman under center. Personally, I want to see him try. This would probably be the most intriguing game of the enter season from an X’s-and-O’s standpoint. As of now, he’s sitting atop the depth chart and is a realistic option. How great would this be?
3. T.J. Yates
This is probably the most boring of all the options. Yates has proven to be nothing short of subpar. He’s a mediocre backup who is just good enough not to be atrocious. There isn’t much interesting here. Yates is your everyday Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, or Matt Flynn kind of option. You know, the kind of quarterback that previous iterations of the Texans or the Browns (always) would sign as a starter. The Pats worked him out on Friday. As a fan of football this is the worst case scenario, but it may be the most sensible move for the Pats.
Sep 3, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Ryan Lindley (7) is pressured by New York Giants linebacker Devon Kennard (59) during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
2. Ryan Lindley
This I find more interesting than Yates. Why? Because I firmly believe that Lindley is the worst quarterback I’ve ever seen start more than one NFL game. He is absolutely atrocious. I’d give Edelman, a wide receiver, a better chance of winning.
Do we remember just how painful it was watching him start for the Cardinals? Do you remember when he was outdueled by Mark Sanchez in 6-7 loss? In six starts in 2012, he failed to reach 100 yards three times. In those three games he threw the ball a combined 74 times. His six starts saw him throw for zero touchdowns and seven interceptions while also losing two fumbles. This guy is an unmitigated nightmare. However, he has emerged as an option for the Pats. This would be ugly.
Now that Tim Tebow is playing baseball, the most polarizing option that is always popping up is Vick. Who wouldn’t want to see what Belichick can do with Vick? Even if it is a washed up Vick and just for one week. This would be exciting to watch. Like a dream matchup in a Madden game. I’ve always been a fan of Vick, so I wouldn’t mind seeing one last hoorah. And maybe he could even end the season with an elusive Super Bowl ring for his efforts.