Paul GutierrezESPN Writer5 minute read
HENDERSON, Nev. — The first time Jimmy Garoppolo met Josh McDaniels? Garoppolo was on a pre-draft visit with the New England Patriots in the spring of 2014, and McDaniels, then the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, led the quarterback through his offense on the whiteboard.
“I don’t know if it was planned, but I swear he planned it – Tom Brady came in,” Garoppolo said, laughing, on Friday. “And I thought that would bother me a little because I had never met him before, and a little dazzled. But yeah, he came out and Josh continued with the teaching. That was our first interaction. “
The Garoppolo-McDaniels reunion, nine years later and in Las Vegas, was delayed a day due to last-minute contract “language,” Garoppolo said during his 17-minute introductory press conference. with the Raiders. On Monday, the two sides had agreed in principle to a three-year, $67.5 million free agent deal, with $34 million guaranteed.
Garoppolo, 31, replaces Derek Carr, who had been the Raiders’ starter since 2014 but was benched with two games left last season by McDaniels, in his first year as Raiders coach. Carr, who holds most of the Raiders’ career franchise assist records, stayed away from the team to finish the season and was released Feb. 14. He has since signed with the New Orleans Saints.
With a career regular season record of 40-17, Garoppolo passed for 14,289 yards and 87 touchdowns with 42 interceptions while completing 67.6% of his attempts in 74 games. He also appeared in seven playoff games, going 4-2 as a starter, including a Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Yet with Garoppolo’s injury history – he missed his last five games with the San Francisco 49ers due to a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, and he only played one full season as a than a starter (missing 30 games in San Francisco with various ankle, shoulder, thumb and knee injuries) – speculation emerged that there was a problem with his physique in Las Vegas. Sources said that was not a problem.
Garoppolo said All-Pro receiver Davante Adams has already reached out, as has two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby as he meets center Andre James at the team facility.
Garoppolo also reunites with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who signed with the Raiders this week; the two were briefly teammates in New England.
“He’s a winner,” Dorsett said. “Wherever he’s been he’s won games. I mean, I feel like that’s the most important stat for quarterbacks, just going out there and just winning and doing the right things. plays at the right time…his record speaks for itself. He’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He goes out there, he makes the right play, he makes a smart play, and he’s a winner and I love playing with him.
“I was only with him for a little while in New England and he left a big impression on me.”
Said Garoppolo: “I come with the mindset that I need to win everything – I don’t want to be told ‘You’re the franchise guy’ or anything. I want to come in and winning it. I think it will come through hard work, working with teammates, being in the facility. All those little things will play a part. But yeah, I don’t want to receive anything, I want to earn it.
“Just because I’m the quarterback, I’m not the leader because of that. I want to be the leader because the guys respect me and believe in me. … I think it will come naturally. I don’t want to not forcing anything, being inauthentic. I just want to be myself and that has done me well in the past.
Garoppolo, who added he wanted to be “real and passionate”, said his familiarity with McDaniels and his plan was a major draw, even though he last played there six years ago. He has spent the past six seasons with the 49ers after being acquired in a trade deal in 2017.
As such, Garoppolo has acknowledged that he will have to relearn the language of the offense.
“Basically, like switching from Spanish to French,” he said. “It won’t take long, but Josh’s attack, obviously, has evolved over the years and you just have to get back to it as quickly as possible. But you’ll be fine.”
Garoppolo said he was warmly greeted by Las Vegas fans as he walked through the Mandalay Bay Casino with his family for dinner at Stripsteak on Thursday night.
“The place,” he said, “was going crazy.”
When asked if he still has something to prove in his career, Garoppolo nodded.
“Damn yeah,” he said. “I’m trying to win a Super Bowl. I know every player says that when they show up to their first press conference, but that’s my goal – to get a ring, get the Silver and the Black back where they should be.
“I know it’s not an easy process. I’ve been through it. In San Francisco, (the 49ers were) the bottom end of the pack when I got there, (so) it’s a process But it will be worth it.”