BOSTON (CBS) — Surrounded by a sea of media members, Jimmy Garoppolo soaked in his new football home.
The Patriots second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Garoppolo took the Gillette Stadium field on Tuesday to meet the many faces that will cover him during his time with the Patriots. He walked out with Patriots’ shorts sporting the No. 10 on them, the same number he wore at Eastern Illinois when he was breaking all sorts of FCS passing records over the last four years.
The number is the same, but his role on his new team will be very different. Garoppolo was “the man” at Eastern Illinois, throwing 53 touchdowns last season alone, but he comes to New England to back up Tom Brady and Ryan Mallet. He may not play a meaningful down of football for quite some time, but is open and ready for whatever situation comes his way.
As for the last time he was a backup play-caller, well, there wasn’t a last time.
“I don’t know if I ever … I don’t know,” Garoppolo said with a smile. “I don’t think I ever have.”
But the 22-year-old will take his new role in stride. He’s ready to soak up everything Brady and Mallett have to offer.
“They’re two guys who have been in the league for a very long time, and both have been successful quarterbacks in this league. That’s what I’m trying to become,” said Garoppolo. “They both have a tremendous amount of knowledge they can share with me and I’m trying to pick up every little nugget I can.
“I just have to come in with the right mindset that I’m going to learn the playbook as fast as possible, adjust to the NFL game as fast as possible, and if I can do that I’ll be in good shape,” he said confidently. “To have this opportunity to come here, I couldn’t imagine a better one. I’m excited to get after it with the guys.”
Garoppolo had just a quick meet and greet with his quarterback counterparts his couple of days in Foxboro, but expects their interaction to increase next week when rookies and veterans start to do more together.
Until then, he’ll be deep in his new playbook. Garoppolo has already started to study hard, and said New England’s system is much different than the one he ran in college.
“I’m getting a little sleep-deprived, but that’s a good thing in this business,” said Garoppolo. “It’s like learning Spanish compared to English. It’s a different language, really.
“Film and playbook, that’s what makes a quarterback great,” he said. “You have to have the physical tools obviously, but when you get into the film room, get with the coaches and talk about the playbook, that’s what really separates you.”
Garoppolo said he’s confident he’ll learn the playbook “very quickly” though.
“It’s a process and I know there’s a huge learning curve, but I’m excited for it,” he said. “It’s a unique experience in a tremendous offense and a tremendous organization to play for.”
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