Patriots

The future isn't now for Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The future isn't now for Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo

HOUSTON -- Ever since Tom Brady took Father Time over his knee and gave him a dose of corporal punishment, Jimmy Garoppolo's future with the Patriots has been dissected more times than those damn frogs in sixth-grade science class (and yes, I'm convinced it was the same 25 every year). To his credit, Garoppolo has tried to downplay all talk, especially this week with Super Bowl Sunday looming.

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"There's a lot of talk about it," he told me earlier in the week. "People have been asking me about it but right now and for the rest of the week, it's all Falcons. There are just so many things going on. It's a hectic week. Just to focus on that [the Falcons] alone is all I can do."

But the latest batch of rumors for NFL insiders continues to bubble to the surface. Cleveland is reportedly interested. Now Chicago.

"Yeah, I mean I've heard those. Lot of things going on, rumors, but that's all they are, rumors."

I repeated Chicago though, his hometown team. I got a big smile but nothing more. Another reporter asked if that was important to him? Playing close to home?

"It's not really my call. We'll see what happens."

Instead, Garoppolo is choosing to remain locked in on preparing for the speedy Falcons defense and the knowledge that he could find himself in the game as quick as you can snap your fingers.

"I have to prepare. And I'm working hard every day to do that."

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a big advocate of Garoppolo's dating all the way back to his draft year, has no doubt the 25-year-old would be ready to go.

"He's a professional now," said McDaniels. "He's not a rookie anymore. He understands what that means, to go through a practice week and know that you're not starting but you're going in after the first series depending on what happens. I think he approached it the right way, had a great mindset, great attitude, worked extremely hard to be ready to go and tried to go out there and do his job."

Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub was once in the very position Garoppolo finds himself in now, a young, promising backup playing behind a franchise quarterback (or at least what Atlanta thought was a franchise QB in Michael Vick).

"Having been in similar shoes of his way back in my career, you can only control what you can control and that's your job, your process -- getting yourself as ready as you can for that next game regardless of whether it's a regular-season game, a playoff game or the Super Bowl," he told me. "You've just got to be in the moment and concentrate on that. The rest will take care of itself down the road. You can't control where you're going to be in the future. You just need to focus on what you can do to get better that day."

McDaniels thinks Garoppolo has been in the right headspace and has the right approach, one born of nearly three full seasons with the Pats.

"He's learned over the course of a few years," McDaniels said. "He's been in our room for three years, He's seen Tom prepare for games. We've coached him the same way we coached every other guy in that room, and he just had an opportunity to do it and you know I think he represented himself well when he was out there. He helped us win a couple football games."

Seems more and more likely that Garoppolo will get a chance to win more than just a couple games elsewhere, if not next season then certainly the year after that when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. That's what he wants, the opportunity to be the number one guy, be it here or somewhere else.

"That's why we play the game, to be the one out there playing," he said. "You know, it's tough not being out there, but it's an opportunity -- a great opportunity -- to come here, learn everything I can, play when I could and hopefully it will help going forward."

NBC Sports Breakfast Podcast: Troy Brown and Jerod Mayo react to Gronkowski retirement. How will Patriots replace Gronk?

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NBC Sports Breakfast Podcast: Troy Brown and Jerod Mayo react to Gronkowski retirement. How will Patriots replace Gronk?

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Troy Brown and Jerod Mayo react to Gronkowski retirement. How will Patriots replace Gronk?

(1:00) Troy Brown reacts to Rob Gronkowski retiring, and whether he thinks Gronk could return during he season. 

(7:50) Jerod Mayo discusses Gronkowski’s retirement, and what he sees Gronk doing outside of football.  

(12:40) Phil Perry breaks down what options the Patriots have when it comes to replacing Rob Gronkowski. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

 

WWE's Lio Rush calls out Rob Gronkowski during 'Monday Night Raw'

WWE's Lio Rush calls out Rob Gronkowski during 'Monday Night Raw'

Just one day after retiring from football, Rob Gronkowski already is getting called out by WWE stars.

During "Monday Night Raw," Lio Rush knew exactly how to rile up the Boston crowd. While taking shots at fellow WWE star Finn Balor, Rush fired some at Gronkowski as well.

"You should've just quit while you were ahead. You really should've," Rush said. "Now, you are gonna be forced to leave the game as a beaten, broken, hot piece of garbage like Rob Gronkowski."

WWE has been considered a potential landing spot for Gronkowski as he moves on from his NFL career. Mojo Rawley, a WWE star and friend of Gronk's, believes we'll see him step into the ring plenty in the future.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.