LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Jimmy Garoppolo said all the right things Friday in his first news conference with the Raiders.
He praised the franchise’s culture. He said he remembered as a kid that his father, a Chicago Bears fan, thought the Raiders were “bad asses.” He loved Ken Stabler, the left-handed gunslinger quarterback. He mentioned the team’s reputation, one that suggests outlaw and renegade.
And he put a bit of pressure on himself, too, sharing one reason he chose to sign a three-year, $67.5 million deal with the Raiders: “I’m trying to win a Super Bowl. That’s my goal. I want to win a ring.”
After a contract glitch Thursday when his scheduled introduction as Derek Carr’s successor at quarterback was postponed — Garoppolo called it an issue with “language” — the Raiders said a day later that the nine-year NFL veteran agreed to his new deal and posted pictures of him on social media with pen and paper and his silver and black jersey.
Yes, a rosy picture, indeed.
But winning a Super Bowl, even with the team making five other free-agent acquisitions this week, appears a tall order.
The Raiders were 6-11 this past season, had one of the worst defenses in the NFL and indications are that the AFC West is going to be once again a tough division. After all, the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs own the division.
The Raiders last made the Super Bowl in 2002, a loss to Tampa Bay. Since then, the franchise has made the playoffs twice, losing wild-card games to Cincinnati in 2021 and Houston in 2017.
But Garoppolo likes the Raiders’ talent on offense, with wide receiver Davante Adams and running back Josh Jacobs. Plus, he knows the offense of coach Josh McDaniels. The two were together in New England when Garoppolo backed up Tom Brady and McDaniels was offensive coordinator. He envisions a smooth transition.
The Raiders made perfect sense, said Garoppolo, who played six seasons in San Francisco, including reaching the 2020 Super Bowl, before leaving for Las Vegas.
“Right off the bat, when my agents game me a list of teams, the Raiders were right up there,” he said.
Garoppolo also said he hoped his new teammates would be impressed and influenced by his work ethic. He said playing behind Tom Brady in New England, coming back from injury several times during his career and reaching the Super Bowl in San Francisco taught him work ethic and preparation mean quite a bit in the NFL.
“I need to earn everything,” he said. “I want to come in and earn it.” And the success, the respect and trust of teammates?
“That will come with hard work,” he said. “I don’t want to be given anything.”
See. All the right things.