Coming into a team like the Patriots, rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo obviously knew he'd have some big shoes to potentially someday fill while sitting behind Tom Brady on the depth chart.
His day in the sun is likely years away, but that doesn't appear to be stopping him from doing all he can to start the process to ready himself for the day when the ball might eventually be placed in his hands.
According to NESN's Doug Kyed, Garoppolo has spent his time burying his head in the playbook and doing his best to make sure the guys around him are just as up to speed with New England's offensive system, with the rookie quarterback apparently already carving out a leadership role with his new team.
“He’ll be walking around, and he’ll just walk up to me and shout me out a play and ask me to tell him what is that I’ve got, my responsibilities,” undrafted tight end Justin Jones told Kyed Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “And I think that’s one of the key components of being a great quarterback.”
It's likely going to be a pretty interesting transition for Garoppolo. After all, the former Walter Payton Award winner out of Eastern Illinois has gone from being a record-breaking passer for his college team, to being just a clipboard holder with his current one.
In the months ahead he'll get to see what it's like during practice while watching his favorite player and now teammate, Tom Brady, call the shots and show him what it takes to succeed at the NFL level. Brady has preached about hard work and desire during his tenure as the team's quarterback, which is what allowed him to achieve greatness despite being just a sixth round pick out of Michigan. That hunger and desire is what got him to where he is now, and so far he hasn't shown any signs of letting up.
Watching film is also something Brady has been known for over the years and it appears that Garoppolo is already following that example. The rookie told the media earlier this week that studying is what separates the great players, and it's something that may one day prepare him for when the moment finally arrives where he's potentially asked to carry on the tradition that Brady has built here in New England.
“Film and playbook, that’s what makes a quarterback great,” he told ESPN Boston this week. “You have to have the physical tools obviously, but when you get into the film room, get with the coaches and talk about the playbook, that’s what really separates you.”
Studying film and becoming a leader. It may be a while before his day will come, but it sounds like he's already doing the right things to potentially be ready when it does. He spoke about the opportunity he's been given after he was drafted, and he's glad to be a part of it.
"It’s crazy being able to go to Boston and learn from Tom, learn from Coach [Bill] Belichick and all the coaches and all the players," said Garoppolo. "It’s a great opportunity for a guy like me, a young player. I still have a lot to learn and I know that and I’m excited about it."