FOXBORO – Bruce Arians knows quarterbacking. He played the position at Virginia Tech, was Peyton Manning’s quarterback coach for the first three years of Manning’s career, was the offensive coordinator for four seasons with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, was interim head coach for Andrew Luck in Indy and has helped revitalize Carson Palmer’s career in Arizona.

His take on Jimmy Garoppolo is worth hearing and it’s an interesting one. Speaking to Arizona media earlier this week, he questioned Garoppolo’s downfield power but signed off on everything else.

“Not a really powerful deep throwing arm, but very accurate and gets it out of his hand fast,” Arians said. “Tony (Romo, a fellow Eastern Illinois alum of Garoppolo’s) was the same way coming out and had a lot of success early. Athletic with their legs. It got Tony broken up a bit, but Jimmy’s not there yet.”

Jimmy’s not close to getting broken up yet. Nor did Arians mention that one of Garoppolo’s strengths is realted to deep throwing. His downfield touch does make up for his lack of velocity.

Be that as it may, here’s what Arians had to say to the New England media when we got him on the horn.

“I think (Garoppolo and Romo) both were similar sizes, arm strength, very accurate,” Arians said Wednesday. “Both moved around good. Jimmy’s an excellent athlete. A very accurate passer. Having been in the system, in that system especially, for the number of years he’s been there, he’s watched Josh (McDaniels) come up with game plans and understands what they’re trying to do. But he’s a very good athlete. You have to defend his legs as much as his arm.”


How much the Patriots tailor their game plan to take advantage of Garoppolo’s nimbleness is going to be an interesting development this week. Certainly, he’ll be on the move and rolling out more than Tom Brady would be. The reason? Moving him to the perimeter will allow him to read only half the field and eliminate some of the downfield secondary defenders.

Of course, Romo can also be a cautionary comp. The adventures that come with a quarterback that starts getting active with his feet are legion. And those include getting broken up. And New England can’t afford to start the Jacoby Brissett Era just yet.