Most of the hype during the first full week of the preeason surrounded the debut of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel and Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles, a pair of rookies that were picked in the first round. Manziel was up and down while Bortles was very impressive. However, they weren’t the only ones to make their debut. New England Patriots’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was selected with the 62nd-overall pick in the second round of the draft, was also impressive.
Garoppolo went eight-of-12 for 142 yards and a touchdown while his competition for the backup spot, Ryan Mallett, was just five-of-12 for 55 yards.
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston believes Garoppolo may pass Ryan Mallett on the depth chart.
Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s debut in the Patriots’ preseason opener was widely praised; his quick release and long-ball touch two areas most noted. But there was something else that might be more important, and it came on running back Stephen Houston’s fumble when Garoppolo darted into a scrum as others were standing around and relentlessly threw himself into the pile in hopes of recovering the football. Usually you don’t want your quarterback vulnerable to injury in a pile of 300-pounds-plus linemen, but this is a rare situation that I think is an exception. When players and coaches review the film and see a rookie at that position making that type of effort and being ripped out of the pile by opponents, it can only yield one reaction: Instant respect. Playing quarterback in the NFL requires so many different things, and one of them is leading in a way that makes others want to follow them; Garoppolo’s presence has stood out to me in that regard, with Thursday night’s effort further reinforcing it.
Mallett has completed just one of his four career passes in his career for 17 yards and an interception. Garoppolo completed 375 of 568 passes for 5,050 yards and with 53 touchdowns and just nine interceptions for the Eastern Illinois Panthers last season.