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Jimmy Garoppolo Will Start Thursday vs. Giants

The Patriots are reportedly starting Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback on Thursday against the Giants. This might not mean a whole lot for Ryan Mallett.

Jim Rogash

In a mildly surprising move, the New England Patriots will reportedly start rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Thursday's preseason finale against the New York Giants.   ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news:

What does this mean for the Patriots back-up quarterback battle?

Not a whole lot... at least until we see Garoppolo's performance in Thursday's game.  At this point, the Patriots have had more than three years to evaluate Ryan Mallett.  We've seen some improvement in his game, but at this point, we know who he is.

Garoppolo, on the other hand, is more of an unknown.  He's been fantastic in each of his first three preseason games, but it would still be difficult to hand the #2 job over to him outright.  The Patriots would like to see consistency from him, and Thursday's game will present a great opportunity to build on what he's done thus far in the preseason.  The game will also likely (and hopefully) present  Garoppolo's final chance at in-game, competitive snaps until next August.

Bottom line: every snap Garoppolo sees on Thursday is more important to his development than that of Ryan Mallett, who's likely in his last year with the team either way.