HOUSTON — All eyes have been on Tom Brady this week, but it’s his backup quarterback who’s charged with helping the Patriots defense prepare for its toughest challenge of the season.

Jimmy Garoppolo spent Super Bowl week emulating Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in practice, running the Patriots’ scout-team offense against. Granted, it’s not a glamorous job, but Garoppolo’s weekday responsibilities are vital to the Patriots’ game prep.

The 2014 second-round pick — who helped lead the Patriots to a 3-1 record while Brady was serving his four-game Deflategate suspension at the start of the season— said he could see why Ryan has been so successful in Atlanta’s offense.

“Oh yeah, it’s really quarterback-friendly,” Garoppolo, 25, said of coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system. “I’m sure that’s part of the scheme. Matt’s a tremendous player as well, so obviously both those things go well together.”

During his draft process, the former Eastern Illinois quarterback garnered interest from Shanahan, then the Browns offensive coordinator. “They actually worked me out,” Garoppolo said of meeting with Browns staffers back in 2014. “There was a lot of interactions. I met him and Coach Dowell Loggains, the quarterback coach at the time. We had a good experience. It was a good visit.”

Shanahan is expected to be named the 49ers’ next head coach after the Super Bowl. But, coincidentally, Garoppolo is still being linked to Cleveland. This week, reports surfaced that the Browns are interested in acquiring the Patriots’ backup. But Garoppolo shrugged off the speculation that he could be the next quarterback charged with turning around that franchise. “That opportunity hasn’t approached me,” he said, “We’ll see when we get there I guess.”

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Instead, he said he was focused on the task at hand: getting the Patriots defense up to speed with his impersonations of Ryan, the expected MVP. And according to Garoppolo, New England is ready for the challenge.

“They’re good. They’re really good,” he said of his defense. “Me and (backup) Jacoby (Brissett) both, we go against them in practice every day and those guys across the board they give you challenges and they don’t give you anything easy.”