INDIANAPOLIS –You can count Arizona coach Bruce Arians among those at the Combine who were impressed with Jimmy Garoppolo. Unlike most, Arians saw Garoppolo's ability firsthand as his Cardinals took on New England in the season opener a year ago – marking the only game the highly publicized backup quarterback started and finished in his three-year NFL career.
"Well, he obviously won the game," Arians said before explaining what stuck with him from the Patriots 23-21 victory. "I was very impressed with his poise. And how Josh [McDaniels] did a great job with the game plan of not having him holding the ball very long and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. So I was very impressed with him."
Arians also expressed some enthusiasm about another player with Patriots ties – defensive end Chandler Jones. Arizona decided to use the franchise tag to keep Jones in the desert for at least another year, and the coach was quite excited about that.
Arians included Jones among the opening remarks of his press conference.
"I'm looking forward to another year of putting a team together for the first time, because every year's different," he began. "You never use the word rebuilding; you're just putting a team together that's going to be together for the first time. Obviously we're excited knowing that we're going to have Chandler being part of that team."
Jones was dealt to Arizona last spring in exchange for a fourth-round pick and guard Jonathan Cooper. He finished his first season with the Cardinals with 49 tackles, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles while starting all 16 games.