Those of you who participated in the “Week of Garoppolo” last week got treated to some nice profiles on the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback. One of the better articles was by Bleacher Report and in it there was a small tidbit about Jimmy Garoppolo thinking he was better than Tom Brady when backing him up in New England. Garoppolo described it as a, “quiet confidence” about himself and admitted when he first got to New England he thought he was, “better than this dude [Brady].”
A few have wondered if this was him getting a bit full of himself or just cocky. Afterall, it’s Tom Brady.
Well, even if it’s Joe Montana, that’s the mindset you need to have as a starting quarterback. You need to think you’re better than everyone else or you’re worse than everyone else.
And that’s not my take, that’s from 49ers backup quarterback C.J. Beathard. Beathard spoke to Matt Maiocco and had this to say about Garoppolo’s mindset:
“I’d say the same thing. I think I’m better than Tom Brady. In my head, that’s how I feel, and that’s how he should feel, and that’s how everybody should feel. If you don’t feel that way, I don’t think you’re in the right business or playing the right position.”
If you want further proof, I suggest giving The Brady Six a watch. In that documentary, which details how Brady fell in the draft, Brady even admits having the same mindset in college when he arrived at Michigan:
“There were seven guys on the depth chart when I got there [Michigan]. Scott Dreisbach, who was a year ahead of me, Brian Griese who was a year ahead of that, Jason Carr who was going into his fifth year, Scot Loeffler was this highly recruited quarterback out of Ohio. I remember being out there the first day of practice and being like, “man, I’m better than these guys.” Of course I wasn’t, but that was always my attitude.”
For some added evidence, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was well documented as practicing hard, even when he was on the second team as the backup for his first few seasons. I don’t need to go into the rivalry between former 49ers quarterbacks Steve Young and Joe Montana—Young knew who he was following and still believed he should be playing and not Montana.
Right. Steve Young thought he should be unseating Joe Montana.
So if a quarterback doesn’t think like that? The Brady Six is also a good way to see what happens if you don’t have that attitude. A number of the quarterbacks selected in the 2000 NFL Draft (the same year as Brady) admitted they were fine with holding a clip board and waiting for their turn. Almost all of them found their way out of the league sooner rather than later, some even admitting that mindset had a hand in their downfall. This isn’t encompassing all quarterbacks with that attitude, but the lack of aggression may have hurt those particular prospects.
Even Baker Mayfield, who was the number one pick in the 2018 NFL Draft for the Cleveland Browns said he was fine with sitting, but if you look deeper, he’s made it clear he’s not wanting a backup job and is going to be nipping at Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s heels all through 2018.
There’s nothing arrogant about having a mindset of being the best or better than the best. It’s not what someone says, but how they say it. In this case, it’d be more concerning if Garoppolo said he wasn’t thinking of himself as the best guy on the field.