FOXBORO, Mass. — What’s wrong with Jimmy Garoppolo? In his opinion, nothing that can’t be fixed.
The New England Patriots quarterback on Friday said he believes he’s trending in the right direction even after another uninspiring training camp performance. Garoppolo completed just 14 of 36 passes during an intrasquad scrimmage and was the only quarterback to finish the day without a touchdown pass.
“I think I’m going in the right way,” Garoppolo said. “It’s a grind. You’re trying different things, trying new plays. You’re with new guys, and there’s a lot of variables that go into it. But as long as we’re learning and progressing, we’ll be all right.”
Garoppolo was playing with the Patriots’ second-team offense during the scrimmage, and his wide receivers — Austin Carr and Tony Washington, both longshots to make the roster — did him no favors. But he also was competing against New England’s second-team defense and a secondary primarily made up of undrafted rookies.
That defense got the better of Garoppolo, breaking up nine of his passes — including three by cornerback D.J. Killings and two each by corner Justin Coleman and safety Jason Thompson — and holding his team to four field goals. Garoppolo’s Team Blue lost 20-12, with Tom Brady and Jacoby Brissett each playing one half under center for the victorious Team White.
Though it’s tough to judge a quarterback’s performance when he’s playing alongside backups, Friday’s performance continued an unfortunate trend for Garoppolo, who’s struggled throughout the first eight days of training camp.
As Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal noted, the 25-year-old’s 57 percent completion percentage in 11-on-11 settings is nearly 20 points worse than his average at this point last summer. He’s also thrown more than twice as many interceptions.
Last week, Garoppolo explained how he sometimes attempts throws during camp that he wouldn’t in a game, which has contributed to his high interception total. Some of his picks, however, have appeared to be the result of poor decision-making or simple inaccuracy.
“I mean, you’re never happy about the incompletions, interceptions or anything like that,” Garoppolo said. “But, you know, it’s training camp. We’ll learn from those situations. We always go back, watch the film and just diagnose what happened and what we could do to fix that.”
Though Brady has an ironclad grasp on the starting job in New England, expectations for Garoppolo were high entering the summer after he was involved in countless trade rumors ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft. Garoppolo started two games last season while Brady was serving his Deflategate suspension, completing 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
“I try to come out and perform the same every day, whether it’s game, practice whatever it may be,” he said when asked about his tendency to perform better in games than he does in practice. “But, you know, I don’t know what it is. It just seems to work out that way.”
Brady completed 10 of 12 passes in Friday’s scrimmage, while Brissett went 3-for-7. Each threw a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Devin Lucien.
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images