The quarterback allegedly hurt it in practice on Wednesday and nearly certainly will play on Sunday.
"I have played in a lot of games with pain", he said.
And in certain ways, the Jaguars are similar to Coughlin's past championship teams with the Giants. Even if he believed that Garoppolo was capable of being the Patriots' starter well into the future, could he really have expected to simply dump a player who has been the key factor in the Patriots' seven Super Bowl appearances and five championships? But the polished veneer it normally displays at this time of year is showing flecks of imperfection after Tom Brady injured his right hand during practice.
The Jaguars also have four great pass rushers. Defensive end Calais Campbell has been a stud, setting a franchise record with 14½ sacks. Dante Fowler. Yannick Ngakoue.
And, just to show you how confident some people are in the Patriots, take a look at this Napoleon Dynamite-inspired video about the Patriots and the Jaguars. "Obviously, that year was an emotional roller coaster for me personally, kind of going from being the franchise quarterback who meant to be there forever to getting hurt and watching this young kid come in and play well, and watch the team win".
Last week the Jaguars offense was firing on all cylinders. That's the main question.
Jacksonville allowed 646 yards receiving to tight ends this year - the sixth-fewest in the National Football League - on 64 receptions, and at least part of the Patriots' plan is certainly to have Rob Gronkowski take over this game. Seems like an even matchup.
Yes, the discrepancy between quarterbacks if Brady should go on Sunday will be vast when compared to Jaguars starter Blake Bortles. "He is going to make his plays and you hope those plays don't end up killing you". To use a technical football term, he stinks. So, the Jaguars have to force the issue on the ground to work around his deficiencies.
Offensively, the Patriots are averaging 28.6 points and 394.2 total yards (276.1 in passing and 118.1 in rushing) per game. "I figure I've got one or two good plays in me, and that's about it". Bortles, who has thrown 64 career interceptions, has gone two straight games without throwing one. He can't beat anyone with his arm.
But surely Patriots players are talking among themselves specifically about how to avoid providing the Jaguars with bulletin-board fodder, right?
This is the battle of the backup quarterbacks. He shed the reputation of the unbending taskmaster (though clocks are still set 5 minutes ahead), dealt less with off-the-field decisions and more with the X's and O's, and won two Super Bowls, both against the Patriots, both as an underdog.