FOXBORO, Mass. — When Jimmy Garoppolo was preparing to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, Bruce Arians saw a lot of Tony Romo in the young quarterback — and not just because the quarterbacks are from the same school.
“I think (Garoppolo and Romo) both were similar sizes, arm strength, very accurate,” Arians said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. “Both moved around good.”
Arians’ Arizona Cardinals are preparing to host Garoppolo and the New England Patriots this Sunday night in the season opener for both teams. It will be the first regular-season NFL start for Garoppolo, who broke a slew of Romo’s school records during his highly productive collegiate career at Eastern Illinois.
While he lacks the experience of longtime Patriots starter Tom Brady, who began serving his four-game Deflategate suspension this past weekend, the 24-year-old Garoppolo is much more athletic, which Arians said his defense must account for.
“Jimmy’s an excellent athlete,” the Cardinals head coach said. “A very accurate passer. Having been in the (Patriots’) system, in that system especially, for the number of years he’s been there. He’s watched (Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) come up with game plans and understands what they’re trying to do.
“But he’s a very good athlete. You have to defend his legs as much as his arm.”
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