New England Patriots: 3 plays that defined Jimmy Garoppolo’s value

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: Jimmy Garoppolo
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: Jimmy Garoppolo /

Jimmy Garoppolo is moving on to San Francisco.  The former New England Patriots backup quarterback was eager to get his chance to start.

In a matter or a day, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has gone from the New England Patriots quarterback of the future to a franchise savior in San Francisco.  While fans, the media and anyone who watches football try to make sense of the deal, there is a quarterback excited to finally get his chance.

"“I’m eager to get out there and show what I can do on Sundays,” Garoppolo said during his introduction.  “This league, it’s tough, it really is, so when you get your opportunities, you have to take advantage of them because you don’t know when you’re going to get another.”"

The 49ers are getting a good one.  Former head coach Bill Belichick has said it and so has the ageless legend Tom Brady.  It came down to a choice between a 25-year-old player who has shown promise in just 6 quarters of NFL football and a 40-year-old who is striving for his sixth ring.


At the end, the choice wasn’t as easy as it appears.  Brady was chosen over Garoppolo.  The known was chosen over the unknown.  Furthermore, the living legend was chosen over the learner.  But with that choice, the future of the team was sacrificed.

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A valuable backup turned starter

Now the San Francisco is hoping to benefit from all that Jimmy Garoppolo has learned under Brady and in the New England Patriots system.  In 17 career games, including two starts, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is getting an opportunity to work with a quarterback who has thrown over 690 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

It is in those two starts (6 quarters to be precise) where Garoppolo’s value soared.  He showed the Patriots he was a keeper and had quarterback hungry teams putting their numbers on speed dial.  While it certainly takes more than a few plays on the football field to determine a franchise quarterback, here are three plays that really showcased his value around the league.

1. Decision making and vision

In his first career start against the Arizona Cardinals in the 2016 season opener, Jimmy Garoppolo wasted no time showing off his arm and decision making.

In the first drive of the game, he went 4-of-15 passing for 75 yards.  Garoppolo started off the drive throwing the ball to Julian Edelman.  The two connected three times for 38 yards.  Then Garoppolo checked off a play to his Chris Hogan for a wide-open 37-yard touchdown.

It gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead at the time and shook off any first game jitters the Eastern Illinois product had at the time.  The drive set the tone for the rest of the game.

2. Precision

In his second career start against the Miami Dolphins, Garoppolo came out on fire.

Following a 12-yard TD reception to Danny Amendola on the first drive, Garoppolo followed up with this smoking 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Martellus Bennett:

Jimmy Garoppolo ended up with three touchdowns for 232 yards before he left the game with a shoulder injury.  All of his touchdown passes showcased his precision, accuracy and his ability to split the ball between defenders.  If the first game against the Cardinals didn’t get scouts excited, the game he had in the first half against the Dolphins definitely did.

Not only did he look like a NFL quarterback, he ran the offense as well as Tom Brady.  New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels didn’t hold back and Garoppolo certainly delivered.

Pocket presence

While all the plays above showcased Garoppolo’s footwork and pocket awareness, this key third-and-15 play in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals showed how cool he is under pressure.

The fourth quarter drive led to a Stephen Gostkowski field that gave the Patriots a 23-21 lead with 3:44 remaining.  The team went on to win the game.  If it wasn’t for that key 32-yard completion to Danny Amendola, the Patriots may have gone on to lose Garoppolo’s first career start.  See the play here

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While this is just a small sample size, the San Francisco 49ers are getting a quarterback who knows how to execute a game plan.  Most importantly, he has the mobility to keep plays alive and make plays with his decision making, precision and presence in the pocket.