BOSTON (CBS) — Need a reason to watch the Patriots’ fourth and final preseason game?

When New England closes out the preseason Thursday night against the Giants in New Jersey, it will be rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo taking the majority of the snaps.

Garoppolo will “play majority, if not all, of game,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who said head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that decision through the team’s spokesman.

“I’m excited about it,” Garoppolo said of the start Monday afternoon. “It’s a good opportunity to get out there and get some quality reps. It’s going to be fun.”

The rookie passer has made a name for himself after playing well in each of New England’s three preseason games, connecting on 24 of his 37 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns. He was the first quarterback off the bench after starter Tom Brady in New England’s second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 72 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter before Ryan Mallett took over in the second half.

Garoppolo, who New England selected in the second round (62nd overall) in May’s NFL Draft, went 9-for-12 for 105 yards and a touchdown Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. While he’s been impressive during the exhibition schedule, the 22-year-old said he still has a lot to learn.

“I’m still a rookie so I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. The playbook is pretty thick,” he said. “But it’s one of those things where if you keep learning day-in and day-out, you’re on the right track.”

Mallett, in his fourth season with the Patriots, briefly replaced Brady in the first quarter on Friday night. He saw the field for just one drive in the game, going 2-for-3 for 14 yards while leading the offense to a field goal. Mallett, entering the final year of his contract, is 14-for-26 for 161 yards and one touchdown this preseason.

While Garoppolo will reportedly get the start, the Patriots have not yet announced who will be the second quarterback on the depth chart behind Brady.



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