Josh McDaniels speaks Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
FOXBORO — Josh McDaniels on Monday sounded like a coach who isn’t the least bit worried about the possibility of Jimmy Garoppolo starting the season as the Patriots quarterback in Arizona.
McDaniels met with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Garoppolo on Monday and went over some material as they begin the long process of working up toward a game plan for the coming season.
Of course, part of that game plan might include Garoppolo calling signals for the first four games if Brady isn’t successful again in restoring his eligibility, which was taken away by the Second Circuit Appellate Court.
“Today, it was a short period of time. I feel comfortable that Jimmy knows what we’re doing,” McDaniels said Monday. “He’s confident and I think the guys are confident in Jimmy. He’s in third year now. He has those qualities. That’s a big part of the reason why you draft a quarterback, is that they demonstrate those things in college. We expect to see those from him and Jacoby and Tommy and anybody else that would be in that room.
“Like most quarterbacks that I’ve ever had a chance to work with, the first year you never feel like you catch up. It’s in some ways overwhelming. He works his butt off. He works hard every day. He cares about football. He loves the game. He wants to be good. This is his passion. And in Year 2, it was better. We’d expect him to take another step forward this year, too. But a lot of that is up to the player. We’re going to push hard and he’s reciprocated with the same level of hard work that we saw from him when he was a rookie. I’m eager to see how he continues to improve this year.”
Garoppolo has appeared in 11 games in his career, but, except for the Bills game at the end of the 2014 season, never with the outcome in question. He attempted only four passes last season, all in the season finale at Miami, completing his only pass of the 2015 season in the game.
But from the moment he made his debut, in the 2014 blowout loss in Kansas City, where he threw the only touchdown pass of his career to Rob Gronkowski, McDaniels has liked what he’s seen from his growth chart as an NFL quarterback.
“It’s only been one day for me to be able to see him doing that. At that position, we expect all of them, whoever they are in that room, to demonstrate those qualities,” McDaniels said. “This is pro football. The offense, wherever you’re at, requires the quarterback to be a very strong presence, to be a confident person, to be able to communicate well and to lead. That’s his job. And if he wants to be a successful player in this league at that position, those are the things he’s going to have to do.
“I don’t think there’s any difference relative to the expectation. If they’re in the weight room, on the practice field, they’re doing agility and conditions, they’re in film sessions, we expect all of our quarterbacks to demonstrate those qualities, and we think that they can. Those expectations will remain high.”