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Bill Belichick: Tim Wright played ‘pretty well’ in Patriots debut

08.29.14 at 3:53 pm ET
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One day after his Patriots’ debut, Bill Belichick said tight end Tim Wright “handled the situation [Thursday] pretty well” for someone who had two days of practice with his new team.

Wright, who had four catches for 43 yards in the preseason finale, was acquired from the Bucs earlier in the week in exchange for offensive lineman Logan Mankins.

“I think the big thing for him and for the rest of the team, for us, is just that chance we had to get him to actually play in our system,” Belichick said of the Rutgers product. “Even though it was an abbreviated way of doing it, it’€™s a lot better than next week being the first time that all those things happen. So that was good.

“I think he learned a lot. We saw some things that for him ‘€“ in other words, what are going to be the biggest differences? What are things that are going to be things that are pretty similar, pretty familiar, not really a problem? What are going to be some things that are going to be a little bit more of a learning curve for him? And a lot of that really crystalized [Thursday[ night that he can feedback for us and we can see in working with him that he’€™s pretty far along on these things and maybe not as far along on maybe something else, so I think that was the benefit last night for that particular player.”

After the game, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo called Wright a “very intelligent player.” Belichick acknowledged Friday that Wright was able to do well when it came to absorbing a lot of information in a relatively short time.

“I mean, it certainly wasn’€™t perfect,” Belichick said. “But he picked all that up pretty quickly, and when he got into the game, didn’€™t forget it.

“Sometimes it’€™s one thing to sit in the meeting and go over it and feel like yeah, you’€™ve got it, and OK, you hear this you’€™re going to do that. It’€™s another thing to actually go out there and do it at full speed in a game situation. He handled quite a bit of information in a short amount of time pretty well, so that was good. Now this week, obviously, he’€™ll be starting at the beginning like everybody else will in terms of our game plan and preparations for Miami, so we’€™ll just take it day by day and see how it goes. But I thought he handled a lot of information pretty well.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Tim Wright

Jerod Mayo on MFB: ‘It’s tough to lose a brother’ in Logan Mankins

08.29.14 at 12:45 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Friday, following the team’s final preseason game of the season Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The big news around the team this week was the trade of stalwart offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers.

“It’s always tough when you lose a brother like Logan, a guy who’s been here his entire career,” Mayo said. “At the end of the day, we still recognize that it’s a business, and decisions have to be made. Coach [Bill] Belichick obviously felt that was the best thing for this team for now and for the future.

“It’s tough. Anytime you go through multiple training camps, multiple seasons with a guy, it’s tough to lose a brother.”

Mayo communicated with Mankins after the trade.

“Obviously he was hurt a little bit,” Mayo said. “Like I said, we’re a family here. As his teammates we stick together through thick and thin. But he also recognizes that it’s a business. Sometimes moves have to be made, and we all have a time. NFL they always say stands for ‘Not For Long.’ We have to enjoy these moments that we have with each other, because you never know when it’s your last.”

The team must reduce the roster to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday. Despite his status as one of the veteran leaders, Mayo said he still gets uncomfortable when a staff member walks through the locker room to contact players who will be cut.

“Honestly, and I know you guys will probably think I’m full of it, since my rookie year I’ve always had this: Anytime a guy goes around grabbing people, I never look him in his eye. Because you never know when your time’s up. You never know when your time’s up,” he said. “I just always keep my head down and go to work every day and try to go out there and do my job, man, and hopefully everything falls into place.”

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Read More: Jerod Mayo, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady

Tim Wright found it ‘easy to get prepared’ for his Patriots debut

08.29.14 at 1:39 am ET
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Tim Wright hopes to be celebrating in the end zone with his new Patriots teammates. (Getty Images)

Tim Wright hopes to be celebrating in the end zone with his new Patriots teammates. (Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two days to get accustomed to a brand new NFL playbook may seem overwhelming to many in the game.

But to new Patriots tight end Tim Wright, it’s just part of the job. He caught four passes on six targets for 43 yards from Jimmy Garoppolo on Thursday night in a 16-13 loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

“He had a lot of production last year catching the ball, so we gave him a few snaps tonight and see how it goes,” Bill Belichick said, referring to his 54 catches as a rookie tight end in 2013 for 571 yards and five touchdowns. “I think Coach [Brian] Daboll and Coach [Josh] McDaniels did a good job of getting him ready for a few things. It looked like he was able to do them. There were obviously a few mistakes but he was able to function OK.”

“You know, it’€™s a great opportunity,” Wright said. “This is a great organization led by great coaches and I’€™m just taking it one day at a time. You know it’€™s still early, I’€™ve got a lot to learn and I’€™m just ready to go.”

Wright, wearing No. 81, appeared ready to assume the role that the Patriots have been missing since the departure of Aaron Hernandez. When Logan Mankins was traded to Tampa Bay on Tuesday and he was sent packing for New England, Wright was given a chance to contribute immediately. Clearly, he felt comfortable enough to give it a try Thursday night.

“I mean, it’€™s business,” Wright said. “Football is football so it’€™s easy to get prepared. We’€™ve got great coaches, like I said, to get me ready and I was ready to go.”

How surprised was he by the trade?

“You know, I know the business, things happen and you have to stay ready, you have to stay on your toes and that’€™s what I did,” Wright said.

As for the presumption that Wright can fill the same role as Hernandez in the offense, Belichick seemed a little more reserved.

“I don’t know. We’ll see how he does in our offense,” Belichick said.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tim Wright,

Aaron Dobson returns with a touchdown: ‘I’m not really worried about my foot’

08.29.14 at 1:31 am ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It would be understandable if Aaron Dobson had some hesitation in his game Thursday night in the preseason finale.

But despite having a pin placed in his left foot in March to help a stress fracture heal, Dobson looked like his old self, catching three passes for 57 yards while being targeted nine times in a 16-13 loss to the Giants. The most impressive play was his leaping 33-yard grab over a defender along the deep left sideline on a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.

Dobson not only had to run the “go-route” aggressively, he had to out-jump the defensive back for the ball and then land hard on the turf.

“That’€™s just instinct,” Dobson said. “At that point in time, I’€™m not really worried about my foot, I’€™m just playing football.

“It was long process: from sitting out the offseason to sitting in the film room to starting to run. It just feels really good to get back out there on the field and be with my teammates.”

His coach agreed.

“It was good for him to get some game action, go out there and get hit a little bit and make a couple of plays,” Bill Belichick said. “It took him a while. He started off training camp on the reserve and then came off and started to get some activity and worked his way back into practice and was able to get back on the field tonight so that was positive.

“It was a process and he’s had to take each step along the way to get to the next level. Tonight was the first night he played and it was good to see him out there.”

Dobson said there was one thing not quite up to par – his game conditioning.

“It felt good,” he said. “You know, I got tired at times but I’€™m improving.”

Now Dobson can go about the work of competing with a deep group of receivers that includes Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins and Brian Tyms, all of whom got significant playing time in the preseason before Dobson took his first snap Thursday night.

“It’€™s going to bring the best out of you, Dobson said. “I feel like our receiving corps is close and we have a brotherhood going on, but at the same time we’€™re competing. Us being that close is just bringing the best out of us.”

Read More: Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots,

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
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