FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo went through a little bit of a rough two-minute stretch during the Patriots final minicamp practice on Wednesday.
It came in a 7-on-7 period, during which music blared in order to simulate a raucous road crowd and stress communication between teammates. As Garoppolo tried to direct traffic over the din, there was a substitution error that coach Bill Belichick caught, leading to a lap for the entire offensive unit -- coaches included. Then on the first play following the group's disciplinary jog, Garoppolo threw an interception right into the hands of safety Devin McCourty.
While the second-year quarterback out of Eastern Illinois would like to be perfect with every practice repetition, he understands that miscues are part of his ongoing developmental process. He spoke on Tuesday about how he views those not-so-welcome, but necessary, teaching moments.
"I'm never going to be happy about any interception no matter how many it is," Garoppolo said. "But you gotta take it with a grain of salt and learn from it . . . You gotta learn from each mistake that you make and each good thing that you do, too."
Garoppolo's outlook on the sometimes bumpy path to improvement is one that's shared by Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Even after a day like the one Garoppolo put together during OTAs in which he tossed five interceptions, McDaniels explained last week that there's something to be gleaned from every moment spent on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.
"I think in Jimmy’s situation, there are no bad days," McDaniels said. "We’re either going to get better from some mistakes we made or we’re going to make progress and be happy about that."
At this time last year, Garoppolo's throws were sprayed like buckshot. But after a year in the system, four preseason games and 10 regular-season pass attempts, he's making quicker decisions, showing better command at the line of scrimmage, and delivering the ball more accurately.
"As a rookie, it’s hard to say that you ever came to the practice field feeling like you knew a whole lot about what you were getting ready to go into," McDaniels said. "This year, most of the things that he’s hearing, he’s heard before. And he’s heard them, I would say, plenty of times before. It’s not that first experience with anything.
"Experience is something that you can’t really teach them in the classroom. You have to gain it on the field. He gained a lot of that last year in practice, training camp, the preseason, and this is another OTA, spring for him where he has an opportunity to go out, learn, make mistakes and get better from them. He’s just much further ahead."
Garoppolo explained earlier this week that during the time between minicamp and training camp, he'll return home to the Chicago area to be with friends and family. After that, he'll be ready to get back to work, ready to compete with Tom Brady and newly-acquired veteran backup Matt Flynn, ready to get the most out of every practice rep -- good or bad.