Jimmy Garoppolo could have talked about how he was disappointed for Tom Brady. He could have hinted that the four-game suspension handed down by the NFL for Deflategate was without merit. He could have highlighted how the Patriots would forge ahead and try to win every game through the first month of the regular season for their Hall of Fame quarterback.
He didn't. On Monday morning, when asked to recall his reaction to the news that Brady would accept his four-game ban, Garoppolo focused on what it meant for him.
Rob Bradford, who co-hosted WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show alongside Gary Tanguay and Jon Meterparel, asked Garoppolo, "Do you remember where you were when you found out that Tom had dropped his appeal and this four games was actually going to happen? And what was your feeling at that moment when you said, Hey, this is looking like I'm going to be the quarterback for the first four games?"
Garoppolo replied: "I don’t remember the exact spot I was in, but I can remember it happening, and you know, I was excited about it. It's a great opportunity to get this. The first four games are . . . We’ve got to get through the preseason, still got a little ways to go here, but it's an exciting moment.
"You just got to go out there and take advantage of your opportunities when you get them. In this league, you never know when you’re going to get your chance, so when you do, you’ve got to take advantage of it."
Garoppolo spent chunks of the interview singing Brady's praises -- how Brady helped him take his work ethic to another level, how Brady is playing at the age of 39 because he's paid attention to the little things -- so what may have been perceived by some as a lack of deference to Brady was in reality not any kind of slight.
Rather, Garoppolo's answer indicated a measure of confidence similar to what Brady exuded when circumstances beyond his control -- namely, a crushing hit on Drew Bledsoe courtesy of Mo Lewis -- made him the Patriots starting quarterback in 2001.
Garoppolo won't be able to seize the starting job and never give it back as Brady did back then; coach Bill Belichick has already made it very clear that Brady will be the starter in Week 5 when the suspension is over. But the fact that the third-year quarterback out of Eastern Illinois felt eagerness at the news of Brady's decision and not empathy may be a hint that his personality is a bit more like Brady's than anyone realized.