USA Today Sports/ Mark Konezny

Michael Lombardi talks QBs, race on OMF: 'I don't think anybody sees the color of the QB position'

Greg Levinsky
November 17, 2017 - 1:04 pm

Former Patriots executive Michael Lombardi joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria for his weekly interview to talk Patriots, Tyrod Taylor's benching, Jimmy Garoppolo and more.

To listen to the entire interview, visit OMF's audio on demand page.

Lombari said the atmosphere surrounding the Patriots game against Oakland in Mexico City is an unfamiliar atmosphere, but brings an oppurtunity for team bonding.

"These weeks on the road can be really good," Lombardi said. "It helps your team bond. This one's a little more unique because it's out of the country and you don't know as much about the fans or the fan base. It will be fascinating to see how it all plays out."

Lombardi mentioned there are a lot of Oakland Raiders fans in Mexico City, and it will be a great oppurtunity for them to watch their team. 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was benched this week in favor of Nathan Peterman. 

"First of all, the issues they've had are in the passing game. They have a hard time getting the ball outside. People realize they want to run the ball, it's all play action and Taylor has been inaccurate throwing the ball, but he's done a good job protecting the ball," Lombardi said.

Peterman will start this week against the Los Angeles Chargers, but a recent article regarding race in the NFL suggests Taylor's benching stems from his race. Lombardi disagrees.

"I don't think anybody sees the color of the quarterback position, I think you see quarterbacks," Lombardi said. "That's the reality. If you see anything different than that you're wrong, because quarterback is the hardest position to evaluate in pro football and the hardest position to find in pro football. If you put another variable in based on color in your evaluation, you have no chance to get it right. Look, we all want to win in the NFL and whoever can play quarterback the best needs to play quarterback. I think Tyrod Taylor has been given ample oppurtunity to perform in that passing game down the field. He has done some things well, but he's not an accurate thrower of the football. He doesn't make quick desicions and when he's forced to stay in the pocket he doesn't function as well."

"It has nothing to do with color, it has everything to do with how you play the position," Lombardi said.

Former Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has yet to see a snap for the San Francisco 49ers. General Manager John Lynch commented saying Garoppolo does not need to play, and there is speculation about moving Garoppolo in the offseason in order to sign Kirk Cousins. 

"You have to think about who's the better quarterback, and I think that's Jimmy Garoppolo," Lombardi said. "I think he's way better than Cousins but [head coach Kyle Shanahan's] going to have to make that decision.

"He knows the system and now is the time to put him in," Lombardi added. "He's got more upside than Kirk Cousins does. You can build your team around him."

Lombardi said the Pittsburgh Steelers are New England's biggest challenge in the AFC thanks to their ability to run and pass effectively. Along with the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC North and West leaders look to threaten New England's repeat bid. 

"I've said it all year, including Kansas City, there is no doubt those are the two most challening teams," Lombardi said. "[Pittsburgh] has the weapons to do it. They're playing really well."