Saturday, May 17, 2014

As rookie leader, Garoppolo 'trying to learn the basics'


Learning a brand new NFL system is not an easy thing to do. Learning one of the more complex machines in the league is an entirely different animal.

The 2014 Patriots' rookies had to do just that starting this week, with minicamps officially opening in Foxborough.

"We're trying learn the basics of the playbook, the defense is doing the same thing on the other side," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said earlier this week, via "We're just trying to become a team, our rookie class."

Given the position and the timing--considering Tom Brady will turn 37-year-old in August--Garoppolo has received the most glamour of any of the members of the team's rookie class from the moment he was drafted in the second round.

Is he the next Tom Brady or is he the next Ryan Mallett?

Another interesting prospect for the Pats has been undrafted free agent tight end Justin Jones, who unlike Garoppolo, still has to find his role with the team this preseason. Nonetheless, he likes what he sees from the young backup.

Jones told CSNNE Garoppolo has constantly been testing him on certain plays and responsibilities so far in camp, as coach Bill Belichick has given Garoppolo the responsibility of accounting for the rest of the rookies—a leadership role amongst the new guys.

“I think that's one of the key components of being a great quarterback,” Jones said.

New England knows a thing or two about those.

Next week, the rookies will work in with the veterans, the true leaders on the team. Garoppolo may be in front now, but he would be wise to take in a thing or two from the guys in front of him.

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