Jimmy Garoppolo speaks in front of his locker Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
FOXBORO — Over the first two weeks of the preseason, no one passed for more yardage in the NFL than Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots projected starter on Sept. 11 in Arizona was 27-of-39 for 349 yards and a touchdown against the Saints and Bears.
Then, last week against the Panthers, he took a step back, completing just 9-of-15 for 57 yards. That, combined with some struggles during joint practices started some wondering whether Garoppolo would be ready to go for the Cardinals in the opener.
But not Garoppolo. The quarterback said Monday in front of his locker that he feels he and the offense are right on track for the season opener.
“It’s been a good training camp so far for sure,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve made a ton of progress as an offense and as a team. We’ve just got to keep moving in the right direction. We’re worried about the Giants right now, we’re not worried about opening day yet, so we’ll get there when it comes.”
Garoppolo, who spoke at the podium last week before Friday’s game in Charlotte, was relegated to his locker on Monday. The reason?
“Not my choice,” he said. “I just do what they tell me.”
There has also been some speculation that Friday’s effort against the Panthers will inspire Bill Belichick to play Garoppolo Thursday at MetLife Stadium.
“It’s really not my call,” Garoppolo said. “You always want to be out there with your guys. It’s just the nature of the beast; you’re a competitor, you want to be out there, but whatever Coach asks me to do, I’ll do. Naturally [the desire to play is] in all of us, we’re all competitors, so we all want to be out there playing. At the end of the day, it’s not our call. You can’t worry about things you can’t control.”
Garoppolo found out in warmups he was starting against the Bears and wasn’t given that much more time before the Panthers game.
“You don’t know if you’re going to start, you don’t know if you’re going to come off the bench,” Garoppolo said. “At first, it was a weird – I can remember back in my rookie year it was a weird thing not knowing. You just get used to it after a while, mixing and matching with all the different guys, knowing guys’ tendencies and how they play, and you just react to it, really.
“The Bears game, I found out like an hour before, and this past week, not very much more than that. You kind of have to stay on your toes; you never know what’s going to happen.”
Does Garoppolo think it would be helpful to get another series or two before opening the season and making his first NFL regular season start?
“I mean that’s just not my call,” he said. “I really don’t even think about it like that, to be honest. Whatever they ask me to do, they ask me to do.”
As for some of the struggles against Carolina, Garoppolo said he was happy to finally get the chance at some early points with an opening drive. That first drive ended with a Stephen Gostkowski missed field goal from 30 yards.
“We’ve got to move on from that,” he said. “We’re moving on to the Giants week, getting ready for those guys. We’ve just got to get ready for them.”