Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is excited to finally be playing against someone other than his teammates this week.

“It’s fun. It’s really a good time. You get to come out here and get different looks and see different people [on defense]. Everything is kind of refreshing. You go against the same guys for ten or eleven days, it’s nice to see some new faces,” Garoppolo said after a rain soaked joint practice with the Saints on Wednesday.

The joint practices were a bit of a bumpy ride for Garoppolo as he made some mistakes in scrimmages against New Orleans, throwing several interceptions. However, joint practices can be a time to work out kinks in an offense before games begin and Bill Belichick mentioned earlier this week that making mistakes in practice can be helpful to an offense.

For a third year player who is going to make his first starts this September, perhaps the scariest moment of camp came yesterday when Julian Edelman, the do-it-all Patriots wide receiver, left practice with an injury. A collective sigh of relief was breathed across New England when Edelman returned to practice today, albeit in a limited capacity.

Garoppolo was happy to see him back.

“It was good,” Garoppolo said. “He hasn’t been out there as much as everyone would hope, but he came out here today and it was good to see him running around. It’s always nice. You love to have a guy like that, who’s a competitor and who’s going to fight for you and you know he cares about the game. It makes you want to play that much better and perform at a higher level.”

The joint practices are the lead up to the Patriots first preseason game Thursday night against the Saints. Although the joint sessions are a step up in intensity from regular camp practices, nothing matches game level. For Garoppolo, this preseason will be different than years past. He is preparing to start the season instead of just getting snaps to improve as Tom Brady’s backup. For his part, Garoppolo is excited to have games back.

“It’s always different on gameday [from practice]. It’s a different feeling. You get those butterflies in your stomach. It’s awesome, football is back. It’s been back for ten, eleven days but that’s only been practice and we get to go out there and play tomorrow night.”