Garoppolo bounces back from “terrible” interception

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FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo was not pleased with himself. During a 7-on-7 portion of Thursday's training camp practice, he let a pass float over the middle that was intercepted easily by rookie safety Jordan Richards near the goal line.

It was one of his first competitive throws of the day, meaning he had all kinds of work ahead of him. He knew he couldn't whatever frustration he felt linger. He completed one more pass and stepped to the side to chat with head coach Bill Belichick.

"It was a terrible decision," Garoppolo said. "One that you can't make. Just had to forget about it quickly. There was a lot of practice left, a lot of 7-on-7, a lot of team. Just had to forget about that pass and move on."

In his second professional season, Garoppolo responded like a seasoned veteran. When he took his place behind center once again, he completed his next seven throws, and he finished the day completing over 70 percent of his passes.

In 7-on-7 work, we had Garoppolo as 7-for-8, with the pick as the only incompletion. In 11-on-11 work, including a hurry-up period, we saw him complete 16 of 23 passes.

"I think I did alright" after the pick, he said. "Plenty of room for improvement, there always is. Just gotta keep going, one step at a time."

Garoppolo worked with the second-team offense for most of the day, but he did complete a pass to Rob Gronkowski with Tavon Wilson in coverage that resulted in one of the most impressive grabs of the day.

Compared to this time a year ago -- when Garoppolo was in awe of the number of people who attended Patriots training camp -- he's a much different player.

"Year one the playbook is very, very big, especially coming from college, where I didn't have a playbook like this," he said. "It took a little while, but this year it's completely different. Got different goals."

Garoppolo is now more comfortable with his surroundings, his coaches, his Patriots teammates and the team's offensive system. He's more accustomed to working with Brady as well, and he's still learning as much as he can from the four-time Super Bowl champion.

"There's ton of stuff you try to learn," Garoppolo said. "You don't want to ask too many questions because he's got a job to do too. You kind of want to see him from afar, see what he does, how he does it and put it toward your game, really."

Garoppolo could be called upon to start under center for the first four weeks of the season if Brady's four-game suspension is held up in federal court. The product of Eastern Illinois said he didn't have much of a reaction when he heard NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the four-game ban -- "Not much of a reaction to it really; just stay focused on what I can control and what I'm trying to learn right now and improve on it," Garoppolo said -- but he's doing all he can to be as prepared as he can for the start of last season.

Even during his rookie year, Garoppolo repeatedly said that he prepared each week as if he would be the starter. That won't change now, even though the possibility that he's behind center against the Steelers on Sept. 10 is a real one.

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