FOXBOROUGH, MA (WHDH) - The Patriots were ready to rumble at the first day of training camp Thursday.
The team is preparing for the start of the season without Tom Brady, who will miss the first four games to serve his Deflategate suspension.
The Patriots are now pinning their hopes on back-up quarterback Jimmy Garappolo.
It appeared to be business as usual for Tom Brady Thursday. The three-time Super Bowl MVP was a full participant for the team’s first practice of training camp – taking reps with the first team offense.
But the starting quarterback job, albeit temporarily, belongs to Jimmy Garoppolo. The third year signal caller knows opportunities like thes don’t come around very often.
“Gotta go out there, take advantage of it, you know you don’t get many opportunities in this league and you might only get one so you know you gotta make the best of it,” Garoppolo said.
But don’t expect the move up the depth chart to affect how Garoppolo prepares for the upcoming season.
“My mindset really hasn’t changed at all, you know even rookie year compared to this year, my mindset’s still the same,” Garoppolo said. “You know I’m trying to get out there, you know take advantage of my opportunities and when I’m in there, play to the best of my ability.”
One thing is for certain – Garoppolo does not lack for confidence and has the full support of his teammates.
“I’ve been preparing to be the starter since the first day I walked in here and that’s just the mindset,” Garoppolo said. I mean every competitor has that mindset so you know it’s a, it’s a good thing to have.”
While there’s no question Tom Brady is older, wiser and an overall better quarterback than Jimmy Garopplo, there is at least one aspect of the game where most would agree the understudy holds an edge–his legs.
Jimmy Garoppolo came out of college a more mobile quarterback than Brady, and though Brady made a conscious effort to boost that part of his game last year, for those first four games of the season fans may see a new dimension.
There were no signs of any scramble drills at the first practice of the season, and Garoppolo won’t say if Pats coaches have told him they’re going to insert any plays to take advantage of his ability to make plays on the run.
Tom Brady’s favorite receiver praised Garoppolo’s speed and mobility but stopped short of playing favorites.
“The way he moves the pocket, I like how he can scramble out, keep it going,” Rob Gronkowski said. When asked if Garoppolo scrambles better than Brady, Gronk replied, “Nobody makes better scrambled eggs than me.”
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