FOXBORO -- As the Patriots move forward with their process of preparing Jimmy Garoppolo for Week 1 of the regular season, there's plenty of refining the third-year quarterback needs to make to his game.
But that's what training camp is for, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels explained on Wednesday.
"We're a long way from where we want to be in terms of the finished product in terms with he and a lot of guys on our team," McDaniels said. "There's nobody that's as good as we can make them. We're excited to have the opportunity to work with all of those guys and try to improve everything we can."
And while the goal this summer is to help Garoppolo improve as much as possible, it's not to turn Garoppolo into Brady. They are different players with different strengths and weaknesses, and McDaniels acknowledged that things within the Patriots offense may have to be tweaked for the first month of the season in order to take advantage of Garoppolo's game.
"It's smart football and good coaching, I think, to play to the talents that the players on the field have," McDaniels said. "And our job over the course of five or six weeks here is to try to identify what those are in each player, and as our unit kind of gels and grows together, we'll figure out exactly what it is that we do best.
"Hopefully that's what we're doing most of. We never wanna put guys n a position where they don't feel comfortable with what they're doing. It's too competitive. There's too many good players and too many good coaches. If you're trying to do too much of that, you're going to put yourself in a bad position."
Garoppolo seen plenty of work as Tom Brady's backup over the last two years, both within the Patriots offense and as the "look team" quarterback, impersonating the likes of Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Now, as Bill Belichick explained on Wednesday, Garoppolo's development as the team's starter is a priority.
How far Garoppolo has to go before he's ready remains to be seen. But McDaniels seemed to indicate that if Garoppolo can continue on the track he's been on in terms of his desire to improve, he'll be where he needs to be when he needs to be there.
"He's worked extremely hard," McDaniels said. "He's gotten a lot of opportunities in his first two-plus years here, in practice and in spring football. This will be his third opportunity at training camp. He's got a great work ethic. He's got a great approach. He tries to get better and improve every day, and he's made progress."
He's made so much progress that Belichick didn't even venture to get into the details of the road the Eastern Illinois product has traveled since arriving as a second-round pick in 2014.
"Experience, everything," Belichick said. "It’s everything. All of the things that go into playing football: preparation, execution, knowing the opponent. We could sit here and talk about it for a day. Everything."
Garoppolo's teammates have noticed his progression as well. While both safety Devin McCourty and special teams ace Matthew Slater were careful not to compare Garoppolo to Brady, they praised the work they've seen behind the scenes from the backup-turned-starter.
"The cool thing seeing Jimmy, I was a veteran when he was coming in," McCourty said. "You see a rookie, he's just been developing. Each time he steps on the field, he gets better and better so I think it's probably very exciting for him knowing the work he's put in.
"And I think for other guys on the team, you know he's a hard worker so I don't think it's worries or anything like that. He's a confident kid, and he's been out here practicing hard. We see him a lot all throughout the year when he's on the look squad and being different quarterbacks . . . It's tough for me to really break him down and compare him. I think Jimmy's just a guy who's come in here and learned everything he could under Tom and just keeps getting better."
"I know that he's been working hard, just like the rest of us have," Slater said. "He's prepared himself for a moment to play since he got in this league. He's worked hard for it. We believe in his talent and his abilities, and we know he's going to go out and give us everything he has."