FOXBORO, Mass. — In the middle of praising Tom Brady’s dependability, a quality Bill Belichick says is just as important as ability, the New England Patriots head coach threw a compliment Jimmy Garoppolo’s way.
Brady played through a hard shot to his quad in the Patriots’ Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and didn’t miss a snap. Brady has sat out just 19 games since taking over as the Patriots’ starting quarterback in 2001 — 15 to a torn ACL and four more to suspension.
“Very impressed with that,” Belichick said Friday. “Lot of great qualities that Tom has, that’s right at the top of the list. That’s not only his — certainly it’s important for him to be physically healthy, but it’s very important for the team on a weekly basis to be able to go out there and practice and get the timing with the quarterback who’s going to play in the game with the other people, linemen, receivers and so forth that are going to play with him.
“So, if you’re missing one receiver, then maybe you get the timing with the other 10 players, let’s call it. If you’re missing the quarterback, then you could still get it. And certainly we have a good quarterback in Jimmy, and Jimmy can go out there and run everything that Tom can. We’ve seen that. I’m not saying that he’s not capable or qualified to do it. He is.”
That’s where Belichick really began lauding his backup quarterback, who started two games in Brady’s absence earlier this season before suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder.
“(Garoppolo) does a great job of it,” Belichick said. “And when we put Jimmy in there, it’s really seamless. Unless you were actually looking at the position. If you could just block out that position and say, which guy is in there at quarterback? I don’t know if you were know a lot of times.
“But for the quarterback to have that kind of consistency with the snap count, the cadence, the way that his voice or mannerisms or reminders are in the huddle. The little things like that is — the whole timing and everything on the line of scrimmage and running the plays in practice. That is a huge carryover to the games. Again, Tom’s consistency to do that, again not only for himself but for the rest of the team and the ability for the rest of team to have been able to count on that is very important.”
It seems Belichick was praising Garoppolo’s ability to run the Patriots’ offense rather than comparing his on-field play to Brady’s. It would be easy to misconstrue Belichick’s comments as the head coach saying there’s no drop-off from Brady to Garoppolo, and it seems likely some will mistakenly or intentionally do just that.
Belichick certainly went out of his way to praise Garoppolo, and it’s still a major compliment, but he wasn’t saying his backup is as good as his starter.
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