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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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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. — WEEI.com’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
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,
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