Prior to the Houston Texans’ Week 3 matchup with the New England Patriots, Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler said he sympathizes with Patriots’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo, starting in place of the suspended Tom Brady, was in the midst of a career day against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 when he injured his shoulder. Through less than two quarters, Garoppolo already had three touchdowns with 234 yards when he left the game with a sprained AC joint.
Now, with his availability uncertain and Brady returning for Week 5, Garoppolo’s gig as a starter may be over. Osweiler — who spent three seasons as a backup to Peyton Manning in Denver, before starting for four games and then being benched again — understands.
“I do know what Jimmy is going through right now,” Osweiler said (via Nora Princiotti of the Boston Globe). “I’ve been in those shoes, you know, I was in those shoes for three-and-a-half years before I really got my opportunity.”
Osweiler said he’s enjoyed seeing Garoppolo’s success because he understands how difficult it is to be a backup quarterback in the NFL. He went on to explain, shedding light on how un-glamorous the position can really be.
“It’s, you know, it’s so easy, people say ‘Oh, you know, playing backup quarterback, that’s the best position in the world.’ What they don’t understand is, when we leave the building at 5 o’clock on a Wednesday or Thursday when practice wraps up, you still need to go home and study and prepare just like you’re the starter and usually you don’t get any reps on Sunday. But you consistently have to approach it as though you are going to be the starter.”
While Osweiler’s explanation may not draw sympathy from people working tougher jobs for considerably less pay, it is worth considering what the role of a backup is. They have almost no control over their playing time, yet go through the same physical and mental rigors of a starter without the actual reps or acknowledgment. Studying and preparing all week to play, only to spend three hours standing on the sideline, would be understandably frustrating.
Osweiler also addressed reports that he and Peyton Manning weren’t overly helpful to one another while both were competing for the starting gig last season.
“We all know that the NFL is the best of the best and there’s great competition across the board, so any time you’re hurt or something like that and another guy gets his opportunity, he’s going to try to make the most of it.”
Luckily for Osweiler, after starting four games in 2015, he signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Texans. It was a big payday for a quarterback with little experience, but after four years learning under Manning, he showed enough promise in his starts for the Texans to take the gamble.
Garoppolo may find himself in a similar situation. He’s a free agent in 2017, but after looking like a legitimate starting quarterback through six quarters this season, as one of Tom Brady’s tutors, he will likely have suitors when he’s on the market. Garoppolo will just have to be patient until then.
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