FOXBORO -- Few people spent more time with Jimmy Garoppolo over the last three-plus years than Josh McDaniels. He's the Patriots offensive coordinator, but he's also the quarterbacks coach, and he's watched Garoppolo go from a second-round pick from a school where there was no playbook to a player entrusted with the keys to a franchise.
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"We understand the business side of it," McDaniels said at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. "But the human element is that you had a guy in your room that you really enjoyed being around, you coached, that spent a lot of time learning and grasping what you were doing, and you saw him grow and get better and mature and improve through the course of time, and now he’s not here. I wish him nothing but the best. I really, really think a lot of this guy. He’s got a bright future, he’s a great person and I hope he does well for himself out there."
The Patriots held their lone practice of the bye week on Wednesday, meaning McDaniels and the rest of the Patriots have to move on quickly without Garoppolo -- and they have. The team announced on Wednesday afternoon that it signed Brian Hoyer to be its backup.
McDaniels was in Denver and St. Louis for the majority of Hoyer's time in New England, but the two got a chance to work together at the end of the 2011 and the beginning of the following season. Hoyer was released in the summer of 2012, which was McDaniels' first in his second stint as coordinator.
"Brian’s a smart guy," McDaniels said. "He’s got, obviously, some years in our system and our terminology, so it will be kind of a cram session here, but I don’t expect that to take forever because Brian’s an intelligent guy that had plenty of exposure to what we do, and I know he’ll work hard. Hopefully, we’ll catch him up really quickly."
The Patriots benefit from having a week off to get Hoyer caught up well enough to be able to take charge in an emergency situation should it arise in Week 10. They also benefit from having a system that has the same foundation it did when Hoyer was first in town.
Not every team in the league can say the same for its offense.
"I think the foundation of our system is the same," McDaniels explained. "There’s certainly things that have changed since he was here, I’m sure, but I would say that it’s just like learning a new language. Generally, they’re not going to change the language entirely. You know, you might have to learn a new word here or there or something like that, which I’m sure Brian will be able to do quickly. But, the foundation of our system and what we use and what we’ve done since he left has not really been that different."
McDaniels added: "He’s from Ohio, so I have a fondness for those guys. You know, he’s a football kid. He’s all about football and loves the game, cares about playing quarterback the right way, smart guy, works hard, good teammate, so there’s a lot to like. I spent a short amount of time with him. Looking forward to working with him here going forward in the second half of this season."