Bill Belichick delivered a verbal love letter to Jimmy Garoppolo this week during a press conference.
A reporter asked Belichick how he has seen Garoppolo develop during his time with the 49ers. Long silence. Then Belichick said this: “It just looks like about what I thought it would look like. He’s a quality player. The 49ers gave him a high contract that reflected their confidence in him going forward to lead their team. Won the NFC Championship last year behind him. I think that all speaks for itself.”
High praise from arguably the greatest head coach of all time.
But Belichick was just getting started. When a reporter asked him what drew the Patriots to Garoppolo in the first place, Belichick unloaded.
“We like his personal characteristics, his intelligence, his toughness, his work ethic, his playing skill," Belichick explained. "He came from a situation where we thought that he would need some development, and I think he did, but he worked very hard to improve, particularly playing under center, dropping back from under center, mechanics, turning his back on the defense and things like that that you don’t do when you’re in the shotgun all the time like basically he was in college, and obviously reading coverages and seeing things at this level that are a lot different than what he saw in college.
"But he handled that well and he showed a lot of toughness and leadership in the opportunities he got to play for us, or practice when Tom (Brady) wasn’t able to practice, sometimes during the week he would step in there and did things at a very high level. Everybody here had a lot of confidence in him.
"It’s one of those situations where you’re not able to keep all the players based on the system that is set up, which is understandable. I’m glad that it worked out for him in San Francisco. I hope it doesn’t work out on Sunday, but otherwise I’m happy that he had the opportunity to play for a great coach and a great organization and play on a great team. I think he deserves that. He certainly has worked hard and earned it. Happy for him and his family.”
Those were 247 love-filled words from Belichick to Garoppolo. You get the sense Belichick still can't get over the fact he had to trade the quarterback he hand-selected and developed for years.
Compare how he gushed over Garoppolo to what he said about his own quarterback, Cam Newton, in the same press conference.
"He has been impressive," Belichick said. "I’m glad we have him. He has done a good job, earned everybody’s respect and trust here, and that’s not easy to do in a short period of time. He has done a good job."
Those were 41 perfunctory words of tepid praise for Newton.
You think Belichick wishes he could trade quarterbacks with the Niners this weekend?