At least one person -- other than Jimmy Garoppolo -- seems to be looking forward to the first four games of the Patriots' season, for which starting quarterback Tom Brady will be absent.
Dino Babers, the head football coach at Syracuse, is a proud member of the unofficial Garoppolo fan club, which makes sense given his ties to the Patriots' backup: Babers coached Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois for the final two years of his college career.
On Tuesday, the coach appeared on ESPN's Mike & Mike. During that interview, Babers was given a chance to talk up his former quarterback. He didn't waste the opportunity.
First, he praised Garoppolo's accuracy:
"Jimmy Garoppolo, I watched him throw the ball five times and everybody thought he was bad. I watched him throw the ball five times and I turned to an administrator and I said, 'I can't believe this.' The guy thought Jimmy was bad and said, 'See I told you he was bad.'
"I said, 'He has no business being here.' He said, 'That's exactly what I said.'
"I said, 'A lot of coaches should be fired. There's no reason why this guy should be at this level.' And you could see that after five passes.
"Jimmy Garoppolo was the William Tell, to me, of college football. I've never seen a quarterback that could hit exactly what he was throwing at. I'm not talking about putting it on a guy's body, you put your hand out there and he's sticking the ball right in the middle of your palm.
Then, he went on to compare Garoppolo to Dan Marino. Seriously:
"You take that accuracy and put it with someone who has the second-fastest release I've ever seen. The only release I've ever seen faster was Dan Marino's. He has [the] second-fastest release I've ever seen. And you've got an outstanding quarterback.
He concluded by making a pretty sound argument about trusting Bill Belichick's judgement:
"Now, don't get me wrong. Tom Brady is the best of all the best. I'm not saying he's going to take Tom's job. I'm just telling you, this young man is exceptional. If Bill Belichick put a second-round draft pick on him, he knows what he's doing."
Again, all of this makes sense. During Garoppolo's final college season, he threw for more than 5,000 yards and 53 touchdowns. They were awesome together, so Babers was obviously going to talk up his former quarterback.
At this point, we'll just have to trust Babers, because we just have no way of knowing just how good or how bad Garoppolo will wind up being during the first month of the season. Since getting drafted in the second round in 2014, Garoppolo has spent nearly his entire career on the bench behind Brady. He's thrown just 31 passes in his career.
Now, all because of Deflategate, Garoppolo will have his first real chance to leave an impression on the league.
His competition? The Cardinals (welp), Dolphins, Texans, and Bills. Outside of the season opener in Arizona, Garoppolo has three winnable games ahead of him. According to SportsLine, the Patriots will have a better than 70-percent chance to win three of those four games.
And, for what it's worth, Belichick seems to agree with the gist of Babers' assessment:
Bill Belichick on Jimmy Garoppolo, 1/5/2016: pic.twitter.com/bQg1J2ZQ4t— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) April 25, 2016
For a quarterback who's never started an NFL game, Garoppolo has already acquired his fair share of praise.