Jimmy Garoppolo is used to a certain degree of media attention. After all, he plays on the New England Patriots, the most successful team of the 21st century; a team that has won a Super Bowl his rookie year and was part of the most-overblown "scandal" in NFL history ever since.
Due to that scandal's fallout – a four-game suspension for starting quarterback Tom Brady – Garoppolo's attraction to the media has reached a new high. He is the Patriots' new quarterback. He is the one to replace
arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.
Garoppolo will start the first four games of the season, as head coach Bill Belichick confirmed earlier this week. Naturally, he was a popular interview partner following yesterday's first training camp practice, during which the 24-year old looked sharp and in command of the offense.
Asked if this had to do with the supporting cast consisting of first-team players like tight end Rob Gronkowski as opposed to the depth receivers Garoppolo usually worked with, the de-facto starting quarterback gave a response that would make Belichick proud: "I'll do my best either way." Garoppolo later denied the notion of having a first-team, as the Patriots "all rotate in and out, first group, second group, everyone's rotating."
Still even Garoppolo had to point out that throwing to players like Gronkowski or offseason acquisition Martellus Bennett "is awesome. It makes my job a whole lot easier, that's for sure. There are some big-bodied guys out there. Martellus had a nice catch today; Gronk had a couple nice ones, so when you have guys like that it always makes throwing a lot easier."
Garoppolo will have to lead those guys, the skill position players that will be on the field for a majority of snaps, come the regular season. Asked how he felt about the prospects of him starting the first four games, the 2014 second-round draft pick said that he is "excited for week one." However, he also noted that his mindset hasn't changed.
"Even rookie year compared to this year, my mindset is still the same. I'm trying to get out there, take advantage of my opportunities and play to the best of my abilities. [...] I've been preparing to be the starter since the first day I walked in here and that's just the mindset."
Garoppolo, New England and the rest of the NFL will find out if his preparation pays off come the regular season. One thing seems certain, though, that the first Patriots' opening day starter not named Tom Brady since 2001 has to keep working on his craft despite a good-looking first training camp session.
"We've got a long way to go," said Garoppolo, knowing that he will have to be ready in a little more than six weeks. Then we will see if his excitement translates to his on-field production.