The competition has been healthy in camp between Jimmy Garoppolo (left) and Tom Brady. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — The bond between Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady appears to be very solid, at least according to quarterback who will be filling in for Brady for the first four games.
Garoppolo was asked Wednesday, in his final preparations for Carolina Friday night, whether Brady has comforted him and told him not to look over his shoulder while he’s taking over the starting quarterback job through Week 4.
“We have a ton of conversations, day in and day out,” Garoppolo said. “We’re together 24/7, but he’s been helpful this whole way. Whether it’s encouragement, helping me with little things here and there, he’s been nothing but helpful and I thank him for that.”
These are not just unchartered waters for Brady (as Chris Price pointed out), this is also a very delicate spot for Garoppolo, trying to show leadership of the offense while not overstepping his personal reach with a lot of the veterans who know and respect No. 12. That’s something Garoppolo also acknowledged Wednesday.
“It’s a tough situation at times, but you can’t worry about that too much,” Garoppolo said. “It’s one of those things where if you start worrying about that, then you can’t focus on whatever it is – your reads, your checks, whatever it may be. You just have to go about your business the same way you always have. I’m not trying to do something crazy and do something I’ve never done before, I’m trying to be myself and do what I do.”
Garoppolo is coming off a very solid second quarter against the Bears last Thursday, completing 16-of-21 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown to AJ Derby. He also engineered a two-minute drive at the end of the first half that showed poise and command, something he might not have been able to do as smoothly a year ago.
“We got a nice rhythm. I think that was a big part of it, just getting the drive started and everything,” Garoppolo said. “The pockets were very clean in that two-minute drive, the [offensive] line did a great job blocking and that always makes it easier. It was a good rhythm that we got into and things worked out well.
“I think part of that comes with just learning the offense overall. Year after year, you’re going to be more comfortable in the system, whatever it may be. I think I’m progressing the right way. There’s obviously a long way to go, you always want to be as precise and decisive as you can be, but I think I’m working in the right direction.
So far, Garoppolo is 27-for-39 for 349 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a QB rating of 105.6.
“I just kind of go about my business the same as always,” Garoppolo said. “I’ve prepared like this for the last two years, so I think that’s a big stepping stone for me and definitely helped out. It is what it is; it’s football at the end of the day. You’ve got to go out there and play, study and prepare as you always have and good things will happen.”
Might Garoppolo reach a point in the preseason where things will click and he’ll know he’s ready for the season?
“It could be, could not, I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m just preparing as if I always have. I’m getting ready for the Panthers right now and after that, we’ll just progress the same way we always have. Just take it one game at a time. If you look too far ahead, you’ll get yourself in some trouble and it never ends good.”