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Jimmy Garoppolo ‘felt pretty comfortable from the beginning’

08.29.14 at 1:18 am ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo stands in the pocket and fires a pass Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo stands in the pocket and fires a pass Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jimmy Garoppolo had all week to prepare himself for his first NFL start at quarterback.

Yes, it was just preseason but Bill Belichick wanted to give the rookie a simulation of what the work load is like getting ready to take all the snaps in practice and then take of them in a game.

“I’m sure it was. I think it was a good experience for him, just helping his development,” Belichick said. “He obviously has a long way to go but I think he learned a lot from the week.”

The result? A bit of a bumpy start but a productive night and in the end, invaluable experience commanding an offense that is regarded as one of the most complex in the game.

He had a couple of underthrows and incompletions that resulted in punts on the first two series. He threw a first half interception when Josh Boyce appeared to turn the wrong way on an in-cut pass. And he took a bad sack in the fourth quarter.

But through it all, he finished 22-of-42 for 284 yards, a 71.9 rating, and a beauty of a touchdown toss to Aaron Dobson in the first half. He also directed the Patriots down the field in a two-minute drill before halftime with a pair of sideline passes, showing poise and skill.

How did Garoppolo feel overall?

“You know, it could have gone better,” Garoppolo said. “There was definitely some things that, you know, we messed up on, fixable things and things to learn from when you watch the film.

“I’€™m not sure. I don’€™t know. It’€™s one of the things that we’€™ll see on the film, whatever it was, that we weren’€™t clicking like we should’€™ve been. We’€™ll fix it.”

“We’ll look at the film,” added Belichick. “I’m sure there are some good things and I’m sure there are some other things that need to be corrected.”

Garoppolo definitely appeared to find his groove late in the first quarter and into the second, when he led the Patriots to 10 points and a halftime tie.

“I felt pretty comfortable from the beginning, but you know, just gradually, I mean that’€™s how every game is,” Garoppolo said. “You start to pick up what they’€™re trying to do and how they’€™re trying to do it, so just gradually got more comfortable.”

Bill Belichick would not commit to whether Garoppolo had done enough to beat out Ryan Mallett and win the No. 2 quarterback job behind Tom Brady. Garoppolo said that competitive dynamic didn’t create any stress in the quarterback room.

“You know, me and Ryan, and Tom [Brady] as well, we all have good relationships with one another, help each other out, and those two guys have helped me more than anyone probably. It’€™s the same as it always was.”

Does Garoppolo feel ready to assume the No. 2 spot behind No. 12?

“Yeah, ready to do whatever they ask me to do,” he said. “Whenever an opportunity comes, whether it’€™s first, second, third, whatever it is, you have to be ready for it and I think this preseason, going into the games with the mindset that I was the starter and just preparing like that, it really helped me get ready for that.”

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, Ryan Mallett,

Mike Petraglia wraps up Jimmy Garoppolo, Tim Wright, Aaron Dobson in Patriots preseason finale

08.29.14 at 12:53 am ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. —’s Mike Petraglia assesses the performance of Patriots rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who played the entire game in the Patriots’ 16-13 loss to the New York Giants in the preseason finale Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. The game also featured the Patriots’ debut of tight end Tim Wright, acquired in a trade for Logan Mankins this week.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Kline, Mike Petraglia

Bill Belichick isn’t committing to a backup for Tom Brady: ‘Last year doesn’t have anything to do with it’

08.29.14 at 12:30 am ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Bill Belichick may very well know already who will serve as the backup quarterback to Tom Brady this season. But after Jimmy Garoppolo played every offensive snap of Thursday’s 16-13 preseason-ending loss at MetLife Stadium, he wasn’t really in a mood to share.

After Garoppolo went 22-of-42 for 284 yards, with a touchdown and an interception, Belichick was asked if he’s come to some sort of conclusion about his back-up quarterback.

“No,” Belichick replied.

Is Mallett still the de facto No. 2? “I haven’t announced about any starters or anybody,” Belichick said.

Reminded that Mallett was the No. 2 last year, Belichick offered this insight.

“Last year doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Belichick said. “This year is this year. This year is this year. This year is this year.”

Garoppolo played in all four games this preseason, going 46-of-79 for 618 yards, with five touchdowns and the one interception Thursday night.

Mallett, who did not play a single snap Thursday, appeared in three preseason games and was 14-of-26 for 161 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, Ryan Mallett

What we learned: Patriots put wraps on preseason with 16-13 loss to Giants

08.28.14 at 10:38 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

In the preseason finale for both teams, the Giants edged the Patriots 16-13 Thursday night at MetLife Stadium.

Jimmy Garoppolo got the start at quarterback for the Patriots, and went 22-for-42 for 284 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. New England also got three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown from Aaron Dobson, while James White had 61 yards from scrimmage (29 rushing, 32 receiving) and Kenbrell Thompkins had five catches for 46 yards. Defensively, safety Nate Ebner had 11 tackles.

On the other side of the ball, the Giants started their regulars, with quarterback Eli Manning in the game for two series — he went 1-for-4 for zero yards.

The Patriots will open the regular season a week from Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami.

Here are 10 things we learned about the Patriots Thursday night:

There was some potential clarification on the status of some of the veterans who might have been on the bubble.

It’s important to notice who played and who didn’t, because we know that if you pull a DNP-CD in the final preseason game of the summer, you have a good chance of making it through the final round of cuts. Armed with that knowledge, the fact that Brandon Bolden, Stevan Ridley, Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly were some of the regulars who didn’t play speaks well when it comes to them making the roster. Not that there’s been any debate about the rest, but it is worth mentioning that others who did not play included: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Darrelle Revis, Julian Edelman, Vince Wilfork, Rob Ninkovich, Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Sebastian Vollmer, Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga.

Jimmy Garoppolo looked competitive against a No. 1 defense.

Garoppolo’s first two drives stalled out, as New England failed to cross midfield on both occasions against the New York starters. The third drive ended with a pick by New York’s Zack Bowman on a play where there was a clear miscommunication between the quarterback and wide receiver Josh Boyce. However, he and the rest of the offense broke through with a very nice sequence on New England’s fourth drive, which was topped off by a nice deep ball from the quarterback to Aaron Dobson, a 33-yard pass play on a go route that made it 7-3 early in the second quarter. However, his best work of the night probably came at the end of the half in the sort of situational work that Bill Belichick craves — with 3:31 left in the second quarter, he engineered a series that got New England to the Giants‘ 19-yard line, and ended with a field goal with 18 seconds left. It was a steady, consistent sequence for Garoppolo and the offense, one that ended with them putting points on the board.

Rookies Malcolm Butler and James White appear to have done enough to ensure a roster spot.

Butler got the start again Thursday against the Giants, and again, he was extremely competitive over the course of the evening. From this viewpoint, the rookie out of West Alabama has done enough to earn that last cornerback spot on the roster. His situation might get a little dicey when Brandon Browner returns from his suspension after the first month of the season, but as it stands right now, he’s made it. In addition, while he isn’t exactly a bull between the tackles, James White has displayed enough (both in special teams and on offense) to land a spot on the final 53 as well.

The Patriots best option at strong safety might be a cornerback.

Over the course of the summer, a few Patriots corners appeared to get a lot of work in in modified safety-type of roles. We saw it from Kyle Arrington in practices and previous preseason games — and on Thursday against the Giants, Alfonzo Dennard started and filled the spot, working as a safety/slot cornerback. It was an interesting look, and something worth keeping an eye on during the regular season. It increases positional versatility, and allows the Patriots to offer some different looks.

There are still some questions about the depth chart at wide receiver.

The Patriots gave a lot of different receivers run on Thursday, with Josh Boyce getting a lot of work. The pass catcher out of TCU, considered to be a prime bubble candidate, had some good moments (he hooked up with Garoppolo on a nice slant route early in the first half), but there was also some not-so-good (he appeared to be the one at fault for the Garoppolo pick later in the first half). He played late in the game, and ended with two catches for 26 yards. The receiver who did the most to help himself was second-year man Aaron Dobson — in his first game action of the summer, the Marshall product finished with three receptions for a team-high 57 yards and a touchdown, a really nice scoring strike from Garoppolo.
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First half thoughts: Aaron Dobson debuts with TD, Tom Brady plays (as holder), Tim Wright catches on

08.28.14 at 8:59 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo stands in the pocket and fires a pass Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo stands in the pocket and fires a pass Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Some quick takeaways from the first half between the Patriots and Giants, which ended in a 10-10 tie at MetLife Stadium.

Jimmy Garoppolo started as expected and stuttered a bit at first on the opening two drives. But then he found his rhythm in the second quarter, leading the Patriots on an impressive 82-yard drive, capped by a perfect 33-yard lob down the left sideline to Aaron Dobson, who went high in the air to haul it down. Dobson was making his preseason debut and looked comfortable in his first 30 minutes of play.

While Tom Brady was not expected to play a single down in the game, he did see action, as he was the holder after Dobson’s touchdown. He held without any incident.

Also making a debut Thursday night was tight end Tim Wright. He started the game for the Patriots and was targeted twice in the opening three series. He caught his first pass early in the second quarter, a short nine-yard screen.

Wright then caught a pass of 11 yards that set up Stephen Gostkowski‘s 37-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the first half, tying the game, 10-10. The snap was high on the field goal but Brady was not the holder for the field goal but rather Ryan Allen, the normal player at the position.

Earlier in the drive, Garoppolo also connected for 29 yards to James White on a wheel play out of the backfield, very similar to the route that Tom Brady and Shane Vereen run so successfully. Then he took a sack on the next play, pushing the Patriots back to the Giants 30.

Garoppolo finished the first 30 minutes completing 11-of-19 for 163 yards and the one touchdown. Garoppolo did have a moment he wishes he could have back, throwing inside on a route that Josh Boyce broke out on. Garoppolo was picked on the play by Zack Bowman at the Patriots 39. It set up a field goal, with some help from a 38-yard run by former Boston College star Andre Williams. Dobson caught two passes on three targets for 51 yards while Tim Wright was also targeted three times, catching two for 20 yards.

As for the starting left guard spot, Josh Kline, as will likely be the case in the season opener, got the call in the first game since the trade of Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay. Kline was the only projected offensive line starter on the field to begin the game. Jordan Devey got the call at left tackle, Bryan Stork was the center while Chris Barker was the right guard and Cameron Fleming started at right tackle.

James Morris, the rookie undrafted linebacker out of Iowa, had to be helped off the field late in the second quarter with a right knee injury. His return is questionable. Morris has impressed the Patriots coaching staff in training camp and got the start at middle linebacker on Thursday night.

Brandon Browner was one of the projected starters to play a majority of snaps in the first half, in part because his four-game suspension begins at the start of the regular season. Receiver Brian Tyms is in the same position, as he will miss the first four games (if he makes the squad) due to a PED violation for testing positive for Adderall.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, New York Giants

Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer, Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower among Patriots not dressing

08.28.14 at 7:22 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Patriots are expected to give most of the playing time to second and third-team units Thursday night here at MetLife Stadium.

Several starters dressed but are not expected to play, such as quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett, Darrelle Revis, Julian Edelman, Vince Wilfork, Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell.

There were nine players not spotted in uniform for warmups.

Running back: Brandon Bolden

Linebackers: Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower

Tight ends: Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui

Offensive lineman: Sebastian Vollmer

Defensive linemen: Dominique Easley, Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga

New tight end Tim Wright did dress and is wearing No. 81. He could see playing time in the preseason finale.

Read More: New England Patriots, New York Giants, Rob Gronkowski,

Logan Mankins speaks fondly of Patriots in introductory Buccaneers press conference

08.28.14 at 5:49 pm ET
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Buccaneers guard Logan Mankins confirmed in his introductory press conference that the Patriots had asked him to restructure his contract before trading him and that the sides “€œcouldn’€™t come to a common ground.”€

Mankins spoke fondly of his time with the Patriots and took no shots at the team, noting that he’€™s spoken to most of his former teammates since being traded.

“I’€™ve talked to Tom [Brady]. I’€™ve talked to probably 99 percent of the team,” Mankins said. “I’€™m not going to get into what we said. … I’€™ll miss Tom for sure, and I’€™ll miss a lot of those guys. I had a lot of good friends, a lot of coaches I was good friends with.”

As for the trade, Mankins said that he wasn’€™t shocked by the move because he’€™s aware of the business side of the league.

“€œOnce you’€™ve been around this business long enough, you know anything’€™s possible,” he said. ‘€œ’€… If you don’€™t understand that it’€™s a business, you’€™re lying to yourself.”

Since the trade, Mankins’€™ dip in performance last season has received plenty of attention. Asked during the press conference whether he thought he was on the decline, the 32-year-old offered a guess that he was.

“I might be in a little decline. I don’€™t know how many play 150 games and are still on the upswing,”€ he said. “I’€™ve played in a lot of games, a lot of snaps, and I still feel I have something to give this game.”

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