The Patriots have separated the rookies from the veterans this week as the young players get acclimated to the NFL, which has given the quarterback the opportunity to carve out a leadership role. Garoppolo, the Patriots’ second-round pick, said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium that he has been staying up late with his nose in the offensive playbook, and it shows.
“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 said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “And I think that’s one of the key components of being a great quarterback.”
The coaching staff has allowed Garoppolo to take on that leadership role just four days after arriving in Foxboro after being drafted by the Patriots, but his fellow teammates are making sure too much isn’t being placed on the signal-caller’s shoulders.
“Coach has given him the responsibility offensively of making sure that everyone’s in the right spot, making sure we’re all on time and things like that,” Jones said. “He’s gladly taken on that role of being accountable for everybody. At the same time, he’s a rookie, too, and no one can leave him out to dry. No one’s missing, no one’s late. It’s all about being a professional.”
If all goes as planned, Garoppolo won’t take the field for the Patriots in a regular-season game for a few years, but it sounds like he’ll be ready when the opportunity does come.