Jun 17, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes the ball during mini camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots' rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo gaining on Ryan Mallett?

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New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett better get back into his shoulder pads, because rookie Jimmy Garoppolo may be gaining on him in the race to sit behind Tom Brady.

Garoppolo found Jeremy Johnson for a 40-45 yard touchdown pass in practice recently, and ESPN’s Mike Reiss explained the throw:

“It was a perfect read, a perfect throw between converging defenders in 11-on-11 drills to hit Johnson in stride.”

“You see the safeties rotate and you get your eyes in the right place,” Garoppolo explained afterwards to Reiss. “You have to have efficient eyes. I did that on that play.”

Mallett has been limited during OTAs, which has thrust Garoppolo into a position that Mallett likely wishes he was in. Garoppolo is impressing folks on the second team, while Mallett has a very solid hold on the backup quarterback position. Just like any young player, Garoppolo has had his ups and downs at training camp; but there’s no denying it, he is gaining on Mallett.

Garoppolo continues to remain humble. You would never guess the rookie was competing with anyone. He’s out there learning the Patriots’ playbook like a sponge, and even better, he loves working with his teammates and coaches.

“They’re two guys [Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett] who have been doing this for a while and they know the offense very well. They’ve helped me a tremendous amount,” Garoppolo said, via ESPN Boston, adding that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and coaching assistant Jerry Schuplinski also “have done a great job” in working with him.

“Josh is just like me, an energetic guy. He loves the offense, loves football and we go out there and have a great time every day.”

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Tags: Jimmy Garoppolo New England Patriots NFL Ryan Mallett

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