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Former Patriots executive Mike Lombardi: New England shouldn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo 02.23.17 at 12:34 pm ET
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Mike Lombardi doesn't think the Patriots should trade Jimmy Garoppolo. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)

Mike Lombardi doesn’t think the Patriots should trade Jimmy Garoppolo. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)

Count Mike Lombardi in the camp of the Patriots shouldn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Why does Lombardi’s opinion matter that much?

Well, he spent multiple years working under Bill Belichick in New England as an executive and may know Belichick better than anyone else in the media.

Appearing on The Ringer’s “NFL Show” podcast, Lombardi went into why the Patriots shouldn’t trade Garoppolo, and discussed what happened in the 2014 NFL draft when the Patriots drafted him.

“Now, we were in the draft room,” Lombardi said. “We thought Houston was going to pick [Garoppolo] with their high pick in the second round. Instead, they picked that guard from UCLA [Xavier Su’a-Filo]. What a sigh of relief that was. If Houston turns in Garoppolo’s name instead of the guard from UCLA, it’s a whole different ballgame. I’m telling you. People can say, ‘Oh don’t,’ I’m telling you, he’s worth — he’s worth the Patriots to hold onto him.

“If I was in New England, I would be telling Belichick every day there’s no way we can trade him. I know you’ve got Brady. But Brady is 40 years old. We don’t know where that’s going. There’s no history that says Brady’s going to be great.”

Lombardi also said how good Garoppolo is, and made sure to add he’s not “shilling” for Belichick.

“He wasn’t going to get annihilated,” Lombardi said. “The guy was too good. He was too good of a player. I’ve watched this guy practice and play for too many practices. This guy is a good player. I’m not shilling for Belichick. I’m not trying to get him more of a draft pick, because look, I know this player. This player is really good.”

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Michael Lombardi on D&C: Patriots don’t have to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after this season 08.19.16 at 11:36 am ET
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Michael Lombardi said the Patriots don't need to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after the season. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Michael Lombardi said the Patriots don’t need to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after the season. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Former Patriots executive and current Fox NFL analyst Michael Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk all things Patriots, especially Jimmy Garoppolo. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lombardi felt Garoppolo looked good Thursday night in his second preseason game against the Bears where he went 16-for-21 with 181 yards and a touchdown.

“I think he looked like he was making progress,” Lombardi said. “He only had five incompletions. He threw a couple of balls he would like to have back that the Bears had the opportunity to intercept, but they didn’t make the play on. It’s a growing process for Jimmy. Jimmy has to get comfortable and there is going to be an evolution of the offense around Jimmy. It’s not going to be the Tom Brady offense because only Tom Brady is going to run that offense. Jimmy Garoppolo is going to run an offense that suits his skill set.

“That’s what makes the Patriots so successful, is to be able to take what a player can do an utilize their skill set at the best they can. I think Jimmy will do that. Jimmy is going to keep getting better and better as the year goes along. I think he was very confident last night. You could see when the ball is in his hands and he knows where he’s going with the football, he’s very confident and a quick-decison thinker.”

Garoppolo will start the first four games and if he plays well, many feel the Patriots will trade him after the season as he still has one year left on his rookie deal and Brady is signed through 2019. Lombardi doesn’t think that is a guarantee because of how valuable quarterbacks are in the NFL.

“I don’t think they have to do anything,” he said. “Certainly there will be a lot of offers for Jimmy if that situation plays out the way you described it. Quarterbacks are the most important thing to have in football. There are franchises all over that don’t have one and are searching for one. If you happen to have two good ones, you better keep them and find a way to keep them. I think that is the secret to the Patriots.

“If Jimmy has a chance to be really good, and he can be who everyone in the building thinks he can be, they need to keep him because Tom is 39 years old, he’s not going to play until he’s 50. You have to have a quarterback and they have spent a lot of time developing Jimmy and a lot of time working on him. I would be very cognizant of that and I wouldn’t rush to judgment on that.”

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Michael Lombardi, Tom Brady,
Jason Cole on M&M: Greg Schiano gets advice to pass on Patriots 02.25.14 at 12:57 pm ET
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National Football Post reporter Jason Cole joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss NFL and Patriots news, including the team’s reported interest in former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Cole reported earlier this week that Schiano was getting advised not to take a position with the Patriots under his friend, Bill Belichick.

“He’s got some agents and other coaches and people saying, ‘Look, if you go there, where are you going to get back on the head coach track? Because what credit are you going to get if the Patriots are good? Was it your genius that turned around the Patriots linebacking corps?’ That’s the problem that you have at this point in time with going to work for Belichick.

“Now, if he’s comfortable and he’s saying, ‘Look, I want to take a step back for a few years, maybe be an assistant for a little while, learn under Bill and then I’ll branch off and get a college job,’ yeah. But I think that most people are getting the feeling that Schiano wants to be a head coach sooner than later. And a lot of people basically told him, ‘Why don’t you just take the year off? You’re getting paid. Go learn about the NFL, look around at some college jobs. Go figure out the things that didn’t work when you were in Tampa.’

“But he’s doing what coaches normally do, which is they feel compelled, they can’t get out of the game, they have to be back in it. They get that jones, that itch to coach, they take a job.”

Added Cole: “That’s what other people are saying, they advised him not to do it. ‘€¦ Other people advised him to sit out a year, and he’s doing it over their advice. It’s an interesting decision. And for a guy who presumably wants to be a head coach, how’s he going to play this out?”

Looking at it from the Patriots’ angle, Cole said Schiano could help, especially if he’s willing to stand up to Belichick.

“Belichick likes him a lot and I think he respects him and he likes his discipline and some of the ideas,” Cole said. “Certainly Greg did a great job at Rutgers in building that program up. So, there’s a lot to like about Greg Schiano. Certainly he’s not the first guy who was a good head coach who didn’t do so well in his first turn around the NFL — Bill Belichick comes to mind, came back, got another job, fixed some things, got a quarterback, and then all of a sudden some things worked out. So, there’s a possibility for that.

“My only concern with bringing in [Michael] Lombardi and bringing in Schiano is I just hope that they’re guys who are willing to stand in there and say to Bill, ‘That’s not such a good idea. That doesn’t really work.’ Because the thing you worry about, particularly as coaches get a little bit older — and I don’t think Belichick is like this, I think he’s smart enough to realize you have to have contrarians on your staff and people who will question what you do.

“But that’s always a danger, and I saw Don Shula go through it [with the Dolphins in the early 1990s], which is he brought too many guys who he knew through for life, they were too comfortable with each other, and they didn’t stand up and say, ‘That’s not going to work,’ or, ‘That’s not a good idea.’ ”

The big NFL story this week has been the league considering a rule banning the use of racial slurs on the field. Cole said the only way the league can make this work is by having a strict no-tolerance policy, even when players use the N-word without bad intent.

“I get that point [that many African-Americans feel they can use the N-word amongst themselves], but I also say, yeah, but you’re just telling me that it’s only OK for black people to use this, so you’re basically segregating the language,” Cole said. “The other part of it is, you’re trying to differentiate when it’s supposed to be comfortable versus when it’s supposed to be angry and it’s a slur. That’s really hard to decipher. It’s like trying to decipher when some people are deadpan sarcastic and when they’re serious. It’s up to interpretation.”

Added Cole: “Or you get the other use where you get a real lunkhead, loud idiot like Richie Incognito, who starts throwing it around because he sees how comfortable all his friends who are black are using it. And then all of a sudden it’s like, OK, Richie, you can use it because it’s all right for you. It gets all twisted.

“The bottom line is, at least how I grew up, is it’s a dreadfully painful, hurtful word. That was what I was taught. Not just by white people but by black people. And that’s what I taught my kids. Let’s have a nice open discussion about it. Policing it? Yeah, it’s hard. But I think we’re getting to a point where there’s some issues that we’ve really got to talk about culturally about the use of this word.”

Cole predicts that if referees start throwing flags, slurs won’t be thrown around during games, although it will take longer to clean up the locker room.

“I think that you can enforce it on the field, as long as the officials are going to be strict,” Cole said. “If they strictly enforce it, it will disappear in a matter of a few weeks. And it will be done with. Because people will watch their language.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Greg Schiano, Jason Cole, Michael Lombardi
Patriots confirm addition of Michael Lombardi 02.20.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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The Patriots on Thursday announced the hiring of Michael Lombardi as an assistant to the coaching staff.

Lombardi, who was fired by the Browns last week after spending one year as the team’s general manager, has had a long relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, including working together with the Browns in the early 1990s.

Lombardi also has worked in the front office for the 49ers, Eagles and Raiders, and he was an analyst for the NFL Network and

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Reports: Mike Lombardi set to rejoin Bill Belichick with Patriots 02.13.14 at 4:08 pm ET
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The Patriots and Michael Lombardi are close on a deal that would reunite Lombardi with Bill Belichick, according to multiple reports.

Lombardi, who was let go by the Browns earlier this week, has a deep and abiding relationship with the Patriots coach — it’s a connection that goes back more than 20 years when Lombardi was part of the personnel department in Cleveland and Belichick was head coach of the Browns.

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Michael Lombardi reportedly working on deal to join Patriots front office at 8:22 am ET
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Last time it took five years. This time, it might just be a few days.

Multiple reports state that Michael Lombardi, whom the Browns ousted from their general manager spot Tuesday, may join the Patriots front office. Chris Fedor of Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan first reported a potential agreement between the two sides on Twitter Wednesday evening.


Lombardi spent one year working for the Browns, who overhauled their front office Tuesday when they also announced CEO Joe Banner would leave the organization in two months.

The move came as a surprise, in part, because Lombardi and Banner worked together to hire the team’s new coach, Mike Pettine, about a month ago. Lombardi also took part in hiring Rob Chudzinski, who coached the Browns to a 4-12 record last season. The team has not won more than five games in six consecutive years.

Cleveland is the first team in the league to fire a coach and GM after just one year at the helm when the coach and general manager were not the same individual.

Lombardi arrived in Cleveland five years after he was fired from his executive position with the Raiders. During the gap between those two jobs, he spent time working in the media.

If the reports are true, it will mark the first time Lombardi and Patriots coach Bill Belichick have worked together since Belichick started his head coaching career in Cleveland from 1991-95.

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NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi on D&C: Seamless transition from Bill O’Brien to Josh McDaniels at offensive coordinator 08.02.12 at 10:14 am ET
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NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Patriots season, the transition at offensive coordinator from Bill O’Brien back to Josh McDaniels, and the outlook on Brandon Lloyd. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

McDaniels, who was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2006-08, returns to take over from O’Brien, who left for the Penn State head coaching job.

“The uniqueness of this team will be vastly different than last year,” Lombardi said. “They’ll be able to control the pace of the game much better. People talk about all the points they scored, which is wonderful and they were up and down the field, but they could never could get control of the game. … With Josh McDaniels I think they’re going to have an emphasis on running the football more in terms of later in the game and being a power football team, something I think they really needed.”

Added Lombardi: “Now that Josh is back, I think you’ll get to see a little bit more of the 2004-05 Patriots.”

When asked about the Patriots’ prospects of winning the AFC East, Lombardi started with the quarterback position but cited some question marks in Tom Brady‘s protection.

“They should [win the division],” he said. “They have the best quarterback, and typically the team that wins the division always has the best quarterback. I think that carries on. I think the Patriots have to get their offensive line fixed without Logan Mankins in there right now. Brian Waters, hopefully he will come back because he played at a high level last year. Then where is Sebastian Vollmer in terms of his health and durability? Can he play 16 games at right tackle?”

The Patriots signed Lloyd in the offseason to a reported three-year, $12 million contract with the hope of replacing Chad Johnson as the team’s deep threat. Johnson’s one-year tenure with the Patriots was a disaster, as he only caught 15 passes for 276 yards.

“[Lloyd] knows the playbook probably as well as anybody,” Lombardi said. “Not a chance [he’s as bad as Johnson].”

Read More: Brandon Lloyd, Josh McDaniels, Michael Lombardi, Sebastian Vollmer



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