FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — If you’re wondering why Jimmy Garoppolo has been in a funk during training camp, you probably won’t find them during the New England Patriots’ joint practices this week with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As we saw during the first practice, this was mostly the Tom Brady show.

Brady, the three-time Super Bowl MVP, got most of the reps as the starter. He had most of the work, not to mention all of the fun, during one stretch connecting on back-to-back long passes to Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan.

Brady was in fine form even if his numbers (23 of 35) didn’t quite bear that out.


He got the backup reps. The insurance policy reps. And while there’s been a bit of panic over Garoppolo given reports of his sloppy summer performances, and the fact the Patriots supposedly turned down a king’s ransom for him during the offseason, there wasn’t much to tell from his 7-of-11 effort against the Jaguars. Not from a reassurance level, anyway.

Like Brady, he wasn’t helped by a few drops from his receivers. Overall, nothing stood out in terms of a trend, although he did make a terrific throw to Jacob Hollister, zipping it to the perfect spot in the end zone to hit the tight end in stride during seven-on-seven drills.

On the down side, he sailed another over Dwayne Allen’s head in the end zone during the 11-on-11 period. Allen had no chance. But again, the sample size wasn’t big enough to make much of a judgment.

If you want a better idea of what’s going on with Garoppolo, look to the first preseason game Thusday night against the Jaguars, and continue with the Texans and Lions after that.

That’s when you should be taking notes. The preseason games are the Jimmy Garoppolo show. That’s our litmus test for him this year unless Brady gets hurt.

As we’ve seen in the past, Garoppolo has performed better when the bright lights go on. He was excellent last year filling in for Brady during the Deflategate suspension. He started the first two games of the regular season before being injured.

He sure looked like he belonged as a starter, going 24 of 33 for 264 yards and a touchdown in winning at Arizona in Week 1, then putting together a Brady-like effort in a half against the Miami Dolphins (18 of 26 for 232 yards, three TDs) before getting injured in another win in Week 2.

This year his only showcase could be the exhibition games, so it’s up to him to shine there. Asked why he seems to perform better when it matters, he didn’t have an answer.

“I try to come out and perform the same every day, whether it’s game, practice, whatever it may be,” Garoppolo said last week. “I don’t know what it is. It just seems to work out that way.”

The ultimate goal, of course, is for him to be more like Brady, and be more consistent with his performances, whether in practice or games.

Garoppolo still might end up as the heir to Brady. And the desire is for him to be maniacal and relentless, working overtime to correct whatever has caused him to be so sloppy and inconsistent in practices. The desire is for him to raise the level of the people around him.

But then again, not everyone is Tom Brady. Not everyone has those unique qualities.

Garoppolo’s teammates aren’t worried about him succeeding if called upon, like last year.

“Jimmy’s a good football player,” said running back James White. “He’s going to do what he has to do. I’m just going to do my job and execute. I can’t worry about Jimmy, but if I do my job that will help Jimmy.”

There should be some concern with Garoppolo’s play, of course, but hold off the panic buttons until after the preseason. With him we’ll have a better idea after the lights go on.