The only sign of Tom Brady around the Patriots right now is the enormous one that the team put up at Gillette Stadium as Brady has started serving his four-game suspension.
Brady’s absence means that there’s no longer a need for the Patriots to chop up reps with the first-team offense after a summer spent balancing Brady’s practice time with the need for Jimmy Garoppolo to prepare for the start of the regular season. While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, was asked if he was excited to be the only player teammates were looking to as the leader of the offense.
“Yeah, it’s a smoother operation, I’ll say that,” Garoppolo said in comments distributed by the team. “It’s just me and Jacoby [Brissett], all the reps are just between the two of us now and we kind of know where we sit on that. It’s different without Tom [Brady], no question about it, but it is what it is at this point.”
It’s an understandable response from a player who has never started an NFL game about sharing time with one who has won four Super Bowls as the starter in New England. While everyone’s known for some time that Garoppolo would be starting the first four games, the presence of Brady is a hard one to ignore around the practice field and team facility.
Now Garoppolo can step into the role without any need to split time or anything else with Brady, a setup the Patriots hope will lead to smooth operation for the offense on Sunday night and beyond.