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Jimmy Garoppolo: Right now, it’s all about learning from Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett

05.13.14 at 1:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo can’t remember the last time he spent the whole year as a reserve.

“I don’t know if I ever … I don’t know,” he confessed with a smile Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t think I ever have.”

There’s a first time for everything, and Garoppolo acknowledges the reality of the situation he’s walking into with the Patriots. The Eastern Illinois product will likely spend the 2014 sitting and watching Tom Brady (and perhaps Ryan Mallett), and he said he’s going to be all about learning from the two of them.

“They’re two guys who have been in the league for a very long time, and both have been successful quarterbacks in this league. That’s what I’m trying to become,” he said. “They both have a tremendous amount of knowledge they can share with me and I’m trying to pick up every little nugget I can.

“I just have to come in with the right mindset of I’ll learn the playbook as fast as possible, adjust the the NFL game, the NFL speed as fast as possible. If I can do that, I’ll be in good shape.”

Here are some of the highlights of his Tuesday afternoon Q&A with the media:

Impression of Patriots during visit?

“It’s unbelievable coming out here. It’s a tremendous stadium, tremendous atmosphere, just around Foxboro. I’m excited to get out here for a game finally.”

Reaction to not playing right away?

“I was excited to get out here. First time in Boston was on my visit, so this is my second time. Being down in Foxboro is a great place, great atmosphere. Picking up the playbook is hard enough, so that’s my main worry right now.”

Have you talked to Brady?

“Just a quick introduction. We’re kind of separate right now — the veterans and the rookies.”

With the draft two weeks later than usual, the rookies are starting from behind this year.

“Being pushed back, I think two weeks — the draft — it puts us at such a disadvantage compared to the veterans. Rookies have enough to catch up on and now we have that extra bit. Honestly, it makes you study the playbook that much more, getting in the film room and talking to the coaches. Anything can really help you out in the long run.”

On the similarities between the Eastern Illinois playbook and the Patriots playbook:

“Not many. It’s completely different offense, to be honest. It’s like learning Spanish compared to English. It’s like a completely different language.”

How quickly can you learn an offense?

“Very quickly, I think. It’s going to be a process and a huge learning curve. But I’m excited for it. It’s a unique experience. It’s a tremendous offense and a tremendous offense to play for.”

You were schooled in the Brady style growing up by your quarterback guru. What sort of impact has Brady’s style of play had on your development?

“It’s obviously different — each quarterback guru is a little bit different. Just the way Tom has poise in the pocket, the way he throws the ball, it’s pretty picture perfect, if you ask me. Just to learn as much as I can from him and Ryan from a short period of time.”

Have Patriots talked about your release?

“We haven’t got into technique much. Playbook is really the first thing we’re trying to learn right now. I’m sure the technique stuff will come along.”

What did you do yesterday? First practice?

“Just kind of getting — the warm up is the first thing obviously. That was — people struggle with that just because we’re rookies. People are nervous out there. Just getting the basics down really. We’re trying to learn the basics of the offensive playbook, the defense is doing their thing on the other side. We’re just trying to become a team — our rookie class.”

on meeting Tom:

“It was pretty much ‘Hey.’ The veterans are all doing their thing right now and we’re doing ours.”

On wearing No. 10:

“Just what they gave me. Not complaining about it at all.”

How much can you lean on Tom and Ryan to learn?

“Tremendously. They’re two guys who have been in the league for a very long time and both have been successful quarterbacks in this league. That’s what I’m trying to become. They both have a tremendous amount of knowledge they can share with me and I’m trying to pick up every little nugget I can.”

Differences in playbook?

“Obviously volume. Any NFL playbook, the volume is obviously much greater. The under center stuff, we didn’t do much at Eastern. Getting adjusted to that will be a bit of an adjustment, but I’ll get used to that.”

How do you not get overwhelmed?

“You just can’t. It sounds very simple, but you just can’t overwhelm yourself. You can’t overthink things. At the end of the day, it’s football. You just have to perform on the field.”

What did Patriots see in you?

“I hope they saw a dedicated, motivated football player. Someone who really loves what they do, comes out here. I’m a blue collar guy, I like to come out to work every day, so I hope that’s what they saw.”

What’s been the biggest surprise?

“Probably leaving my mom on Mother’s Day. She was a little upset about it, but it’s business now. It’s my job, and I’m excited to be out here.”

Do you have to come in with the approach to compete?

“I just have to come in with the right mindset of I’ll learn the playbook as fast as possible, adjust the the NFL game, the NFL speed as fast as possible. If I can do that, I’ll be in good shape.”

Last time you spent a whole season as a reserve?

“I don’t know if I ever — I don’t know. I don’t think I ever have.”

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady,
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