FOXBORO -- For the Patriots as a whole, life without Tom Brady isn’t going to be easier.
For Jimmy Garoppolo, maybe it is.
Garoppolo said Wednesday morning that the Patriots’ first week with Brady out of the building has made things run better.
“It’s a smoother operation, I’ll tell you that,” Garoppolo said when asked by CSN’s Mike Giardi if Brady being away from the team changed things. “It’s just me and Jacoby [Brissett] splitting all the reps and we kind of know where we sit on that. It’s different without Tom, but it is what it is at this point.”
There’s really no way to parse those words to change their meaning. Preparation for the first four games of the regular season hasn’t been easy for Garoppolo because the offense just wasn’t his.
Wednesday’s statement, coupled with Garoppolo saying after the Carolina game that the quarterback shuffle was “different” having to jump in and out of the game indicates that behind Garoppolo’s perma-smile and deference, there’s a player that’s been itching to have Brady out of the passenger seat so he could drive the offense himself.
Saying the week’s preparation was “busy, that’s for sure,” Garoppolo said things have slowed down significantly.
“I feel like it has, especially since rookie year and last year," he said. "The biggest part of that is the mental part. Once you knopwo the offense you know what you’re looking for on defense and you can mentally break it down to where you almost know where you’re ready to go with the ball. It’s a comforting feeling. Not that it’s moving in slow motion but you know it’s moving slower than it was.”
Asked about the Brady banner hung on the stadium lighthouse, Garoppolo deflected, saying, “To be honest, I haven’t had much time to think about that. It’s straight Arizona right now.”
Brady’s message to Garoppolo prior to leaving the facility last Saturday was simply, “Goodbye and good luck,” according to Garoppolo.
Given he’s watched 32 regular-season games and five playoff games as the backup, I asked Garoppolo if he’s taken stock of the chance that approaches on Sunday.
“A little bit,” he admitted. “There’s so much going on right now, but it is a phenomenal opportunity. This is why you play the game, you play to be in the game and play. You don’t want to be the backup. The opportunity’s here. Now it’s time to take advantage of it.”