(We initially posted this story May 12th of 2015. As it turned out, Jimmy Garoppolo never got to start in 2015, as Tom Brady's suspension was overturned. But now the overturn has been overturned, putting Garoppolo back in the saddle for the 2016 season. Learn all about him!)
Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the Patriots' season, thrusting backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo into the spotlight.
Garoppolo's ability to fill in for the future Hall of Famer could be critical: if the Pats stammer out of the gate in their first four games, their playoff hopes could be in jeopardy.
So what do we know about the third-year player out of Eastern Illinois? A QB with a quick release, Garoppolo played spectacularly at Eastern Illinois and filled in just fine in limited action for Brady as a rookie. Here's everything you need to know about Garoppolo, and what that means for the Patriots' success next year.
1. NFL career stats
Photo credit: Adam Hunger, USA Today Sports
Regular season: 20-for-31 passing (64.5 percent), 188 yards (6.7 per attempt), 1 TD, 0 interceptions
2014 Preseason: 46-for-79 passing (58.2 percent), 618 yards (7.8 per attempt), 5 TDs, 1 interception
Led all NFL backup QBs in rainbows created with outrageously handsome smile.
2. Draft profile
Photo credit: Andy Marlin, USA Today Sports
Picked in second round (62nd overall) out of Eastern Illinois.
Combine results: 6'2, 226 pounds, 9 1/4 inch hands, 4.97 40-yard dash
Graded as "best smile" amongst 2014 QBs by NFL Network's Mike Mayock.
3. Amazing Eastern Illinois career
Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Four-year starter, broke Tony Romo's school record for most TDs.
Won 2013 Walter Payton Award for most outstanding player in FCS.
Led Panthers to back-to-back conference championships in junior and senior years, including 8-0 2013 season.
Beat FBS San Diego State on the road.
Career stats: 1,047-1,668 passing (62.7 percent) 13,156 yards (7.9 per attempt) 118 TDs, 51 interceptions
Broke FCS-record 931 hearts.
4. Quotes from those who would know
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"Jimmy has worked hard and consistently improved every week ... He’s been durable, [handsome], out there every day, keeps getting better. [He] has worked on a lot of things that we have identified for him to do. He’s been [gorgeous, oustandingly gorgeous, like a Greek statue ripped off its marble pedestal and blessed with the breath of life like the gods] and has a better understanding of how the league works." -- Bill Belichick
"Jimmy Garoppolo would have been the starter at Texas A&M. Jimmy Garappolo would have been the starter at the University of Arizona. Jimmy Garoppolo is a big-time quarterback. Everybody’s going to figure out real quick how [Adonis-like] this young man is ... The guy can play. He’s intelligent, he’s [strikingly beautiful] he’s got one of the fastest releases I’ve probably seen (since) Dan Marino." -- Eastern Illinois coach Dino Babers
"Tom and Jimmy are competing together for the same role [as most handsome player on our team]. Jimmy’s had a great attitude and tried to digest as much information as he can, and Tom’s been incredibly available for Jimmy. To watch a guy in his 15th year prepare to be the best player he could be, but also care enough about a young player to try and help him improve every day, it’s really an unselfish thing to watch happen." -- Patriots QB coach/offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
5. So freakin' dreamy
Photo credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
I mean look at him.
6. Potential character concerns?
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Has been known to distract teammates by being alarmingly good-looking.
Has been known to be good-looking in public.
7. Has Gisele's number
Photo credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
But only for cases of emergency, like if Tom's phone is dead and he needs to update her about plans, or if Tom's practice is running late and he can't pick up the kids.
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