Garoppolo: Panthers offer ‘closest thing we’ll get to Week 1’

Garoppolo: Panthers offer ‘closest thing we’ll get to Week 1’

One throw could have very well changed the overall assessment of Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance last Thursday against Chicago. 

Garoppolo had looked completely poised, on rhythm and decisive, carving up the Bears on four straight drives, including an impressive march to open the third quarter. And then, on third down in the red zone, the Pats quarterback correctly read man-under coverage, with a single high safety floating. But with his first two reads covered, Garoppolo pivoted back to his right and threw almost sight unseen to James White. One problem: Bears linebacker John Timu was sitting in the passing lane and dropped what should have an interception.

“Yeah, the linebacker made a nice jump on it,” said Garoppolo. “It’s unfortunate what happened.”

What happened was the Pats escaped with three points and Garoppolo exiting to excellent reviews. But that was a gift from the football gods, though the third-year pro shrugged it off.

“It was just one of those bang-bang plays,” said Garoppolo. “In the red zone, there are tight windows down there, so sometimes you’re going to make throws that get tipped or whatever it may be. You don’t try to make those happen, but sometimes it happens down there.”

A deeper review of the Pats approach versus the Bears showed a greater emphasis on Garoppolo getting rid of the ball the moment those feet settled on repeated three- and five-step drops. That resulted in the best performance by the Pats signal caller since before that full practice scrimmage in which the QB on the other side - a fella by the name of Tom Brady - went 25-for-25. That day, Garoppolo waded into choppy waters and took nearly two weeks to find solid footing. 

“I think part of that comes with just learning the offense overall,” said Garoppolo when asked about his decision making. “Year after year, you’re going to be more comfortable in the system, whatever it may be. I think I’m progressing the right way. There’s obviously a long way to go, you always want to be as precise and decisive as you can be, but I think I’m working in the right direction.”

No denying that, although now comes another test, the preseason tilt Friday night in Carolina against the defending NFC champion Panthers. There may be a greater strain put on Garoppolo and the starters, but as for the idea this is the closest thing to a dress rehearsal for the regular season, Bill Belichick reminds you not to get it twisted.

“I think this is a good opportunity for us to compete against arguably as good as any team in the league. [With] all that being said, we’re not talking about a regular-season game here, “ he said. “We’re not talking about game planning and all of those kind of things, which I can’t imagine would happen in this game, but they’re going to happen in a couple of weeks so it’s a whole different ballgame. I don’t think you can compare this game to a regular-season game even though I’ve heard people try to do that. I’m not sure what game they’re looking at. “

Maybe the same thing as Garoppolo is…

“It’s pretty much the closest thing we’ll get to Week 1, so we’ll see how it goes,” he said.






Boston Sports Breakfast Podcast: What Tom Brady, Gronk's absence means for Patriots

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Boston Sports Breakfast Podcast: What Tom Brady, Gronk's absence means for Patriots

1:24 - The Red Sox win on Tuesday night went just how you’d expect: Mookie Betts hit another home run and Chris Sale dominated. Evan Drellich, Tom Giles, and Michael Holley debate whether or not Betts can remain on his torrid pace all season.

5:22 - No Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski weren’t at OTAs and definitely don’t ask Bill Belichick about them. Tom Curran, Michael Holley and Andy Hart from Patriots Football Weekly discuss where the pair could be and what it means for the team.

10:31 - Cedric Maxwell joins Kyle Draper, Trenni Kusnierek and Gary Tanguay to preview Game 5 for Celtics back in Boston and discuss adjustments that Brad Stevens needs to make to contain Lebron James.

Quick Slants Podcast: Would Tom Brady skip OTAs if Jimmy Garoppolo was around?

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Quick Slants Podcast: Would Tom Brady skip OTAs if Jimmy Garoppolo was around?

Tom Curran, Phil Perry and Jerod Mayo jump on what's trending with the Patriots:

1:58 - How will the absence of Tom Brady from OTAs impact the Patriots' team progression?

5:00 - Jerod explains why he thinks that no Brady isn't a big deal for the Patriots for now.

6:27 - Is the Tom Brady way starting to hurt the Patriots way?

8:48 - Jerod: "If Tom's not here for mandatory mini camp, sound the alarm."

11:08 - Who is suffering the most by the absence of Brady and Gronk?

12:38 - Jerod admits his disappointment in how things within the Patriots organization have changed since he played?

15:50 - Jerod gives an inside look at OTAs from a player's perspective and thinks back to rookies that impressed him coming into camp. The guys also go off on a quick tangent on tattoos.

23:56 - Tom asks if Brady would be skipping OTAs if Jimmy Garoppolo was still with the team.

24:47 - Which players should we keep an eye on during OTAs and throughout the early stages of training camp?

27:52 - Jerod predicts that Kenny Britt will have a big impact during the 2018 season and Tom and Phil give their own predictions on who will have big years for the Pats.