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Laps and lessons for Jimmy Garoppolo in first NFL training camp 07.26.14 at 1:34 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo is getting his first feel of the NFL. (AP)

Jimmy Garoppolo is getting his first feel of the NFL. (AP)

FOXBORO –€” Jimmy Garoppolo can either be frustrated or determined, and he’€™s choosing the latter with a smile.

In his first few days of training camp, the second-round pick has looked like exactly what he is: a rookie quarterback who has a lot to learn.

Garoppolo was intercepted three times during Saturday’€™s practice and a mistake during goal-line work caused him to a run a lap for a second straight day. Yet speaking after Saturday’€™s practice, he spoke of the “next play mentality” that he’€™s learned from Tom Brady. Think less of an I’€™m-struggling mindset and more I’€™ve-got-this.

“€œJust picking up the offense one day at a time, really,”€ he said of the early going of camp. “€œLittle bits and pieces here and there. It’€™s a process. There’€™s going to be bumps along the way, but you’€™ve just got to learn and improve on that.”

Those bumps are common for any young quarterback, but there’€™s a difference between getting to know a new league and system (which would describe Garoppolo’€™s situation) and appearing physically incapable, which also happens (2010 seventh-rounder Zac Robinson come to mind).

It’€™s clear that, despite the misplaced passes and laps run, Garoppolo doesn’€™t feel incapable. It’€™s hard now, but with improvement it will be easier. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady,
As far as veterans are concerned, rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo making the grade 06.09.14 at 6:00 am ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo was taken in the second round out of Eastern Illinois. (AP)

Jimmy Garoppolo was taken in the second round out of Eastern Illinois. (AP)

FOXBORO — It’s only been a handful of OTA sessions, but to this point, the Patriots veterans have been impressed with the work of rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

The consensus seems to be that he’s not only delivering the goods on the practice field — albeit in limited snaps behind Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett — but he’s fully aware of his place in the locker room hierarchy as a rookie.

“I’ll tell you, he shocked me, man,” running back Stevan Ridley said after last Thursday’s workout. “He came in [and] he seems confident. He is a rookie, though. Everybody’s going to make mistakes, but he’s quiet, and he has been working hard.

“I didn’€™t know too much about him, but as I watched him, I liked him the more I watched him,” Ridley added. “He’€™s what we expect out of a quarterback. You don’€™t say too much — you just take it in and do your job.’€

In last Thursday’s practice session, the first action for Garoppolo in full view of the media, there were some good throws and some bad throws, including an interception on a ball picked off by linebacker Chris White. All in all, a rookie performance in the rain that was probably about par for the course for a young quarterback at this time of the offseason.

Garoppolo wasn’t made available to the media after the session, but some of the other offensive veterans acknowledged they have been impressed with the rookie, who has managed to emerge as an early leader among the first year players.

“The guy is pretty good — he’s got a lot of talent,” said wide receiver Brandon LaFell. “He’s a rookie, so he has a lot to learn. But he has a lot of potential. If he continues to work, he’ll be a good quarterback in this league.”

Wide receiver Danny Amendola had the chance to work out briefly with Garoppolo prior to the draft, and said that the rookie out of Eastern Illinois has impressed him as a “smart” player.

“He’s a smart player,” Amendola added. “I don’t know if they ran the same offense in college, but he’s picked up the system really well. I know he’s been putting in his time and his work getting in the books. He’s been doing good so far.”

In addition, Amendola added that Garoppolo has shown a nice command of the huddle, at least to this point.

“That’s huge. It’s one thing to throw the ball and make the plays on your feet. But to actually control 10 other guys and get them to where they need to be is a huge part of playing the quarterback position. He’s learning from the best [in] Tom and Mallett. He’s doing well.”

Read More: Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett
Josh McDaniels might put Tom Brady on the run more in 2014: ‘We’re adamant about trying to make it better’ 05.30.14 at 4:22 pm ET
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Josh McDaniels spoke about Tom Brady and the ever-improving Patriots offense Friday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Josh McDaniels spoke about Tom Brady and the ever-improving Patriots offense Friday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — One of the things that makes Tom Brady a truly great NFL quarterback is his willingness – after 14 seasons – to try anything and everything to get better. On Friday, the Patriots and Brady showed off one aspect of their offense that might change ever so slightly heading into 2014.

Brady and Ryan Mallett spent part of their 100-minute OTA session on the back fields working on rollouts, indicating Brady might be on the run – by design – this season. There were precious few instances of designed rollouts last season as Brady set up shop in the pocket and looked to drive the team down the field.

“Whether it’s footwork, where to put our eyes after the snap, there’s so many things and elements of the quarterback position that you can actually get better at,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We were moving in the pocket today and then throwing off-schedule throws. That’s not necessarily a strength of our quarterbacks in general but I think that’s something we’ve identified that you know what, it could’ve helped us a time here or a time there. We’re adamant about trying to make it better.”

One example came at the end of the Browns game on Dec. 8 when Brady rolled out to his right and found Danny Amendola for a one-yard TD pass with just over 30 seconds left to lift the Patriots to a 27-26 win at Gillette Stadium.

But in the playoffs, there were limited such designed plays, and it became obvious in the AFC championship in Denver that Brady in the pocket was a target of a defense that could pin its ears back and go after the quarterback.

Brady, according to McDaniels, has already shown a willingness to improve aspects of his game that might make this transition not just possible but effective.

“Yep, I do,” McDaniels said when asked if he sees Brady working hard to improve his game. “It’s hard for me to ever feel like that wouldn’t be the case because any time you have a guy that’s really focused on working on all the weaknesses in his game when there aren’t that many, you can see where there would be room for growth. He listens as good or better than he ever has, in terms of taking coaching, working on things that we’re trying to get better at, and again, I think that’s just a great example for the rest of the guys. And he’s certainly shown that he’s going to work on different aspects of his game to fix them and make them better.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Joshn McDaniels, New England Patriots, Ryan Mallett
Bill Belichick on trading Ryan Mallett: ‘That’s not really something we’re that interested in’ 05.22.14 at 8:09 pm ET
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Bill Belichick said that he didn't think the Patriots would be interested in dealing Ryan Mallett. (AP)

Bill Belichick said that he didn’t think the Patriots would be interested in dealing Ryan Mallett. (AP)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday afternoon that when it comes to possibly trading backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, “that’€™s not really something we’€™re that interested in.’€

Belichick, who was appearing with hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on the “Movin’ the Chains” show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, was asked if New England had fielded any trade calls about Mallett from other teams.

“Ryan has done a good job for us. Fortunately for our team, maybe unfortunately for Ryan, he hasn’€™t really had any playing time in the last three years,” Belichick said of Mallett, who is going into the final year of his rookie contract. “But he’€™s improved tremendously as a quarterback and as a football player, and we have a lot of confidence in him. But at the same time, he’€™s in the last year of a contract, and Jimmy (Garoppolo) was the player we had with a high grade on. At that position, I just don’€™t think you can afford to pass up a player that you think has that kind of (value).

“We feel like we have a good quarterback situation. I think there are a lot of teams in the league that maybe don’€™t feel that good about that position, and that’€™s not a good position to not feel good about. We feel very good about the players we have at that spot.”

Belichick was also asked about his proposal that would give expanded challenge opportunities to coaches.

“There are a lot of plays in the current system that aren’t challengeable — frankly, the rules are pretty complicated as to what you can and can’t challenge,” he said. “It’s like every time there’s kind of a controversial play on the field, the heads linesman or line judge comes over to you and he’s trying to coach you along on war you can and cannot challenge. There are complicated rules for the fans, coaches and everybody else.

“Whatever it happens to be, it wouldn’t give the coach any more challenges. It would just give him a chance to challenge a play he thought was ruled incorrectly. In the grand scheme of things, I think what we all want is to get the play right and for the best team to win and for the game not to be decided by a missed call. To not have the opportunity to correct that type of play, it just doesn’t seem like it’s the right way to do it.

“We had a situation this year where we added another exception to the replay rule because of a play that came up during the season, and it seems like that’s kind of the way it goes — something happens, and then, we have something else to challenge or make another play challengeable that wasn’t in the past, and we’re just going to keep adding to that. I’d just like to clean it up and have a coach have two challenges, and if he gets them right, he gets a third, and that’s it. He can use it on whatever play he wants.”

Ultimately, the proposal was rejected, but Belichick said he would consider bringing the idea up again.

“I think we probably would bring it up again — maybe change our presentation or try to assemble a little bit more support for it,” he said. “In the end, it’s what the membership wants to do — whatever the rules are, that’s what we’ll play by.

“I’ve coached with replay, without replay,” he added. “Whatever it is, we can deal with it.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett,
Could Patriots make push for Andre Johnson? 05.15.14 at 1:35 pm ET
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Wide receiver Andre Johnson could be on the market. (AP)

Wide receiver Andre Johnson could be on the market. (AP)

The news out of Houston that receiver Andre Johnson has started pushing for a trade has led many Patriots fans to openly speculate about the possibility of New England trying to put together a deal for the former All-Pro receiver.

Given the depth of the relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Texans coach Bill O’€™Brien, the two sides would appear to be natural trade partners. That, combined with the fact that New England and Houston have been talking on and off throughout the offseason about a potential deal involving quarterback Ryan Mallett, would naturally spark conversation on the topic. The starting point between the two sides likely would be Mallett and a draft pick (probably a second- or third-round selection) for Johnson.

Johnson is a tremendous talent. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder has played 11 years in he NFL, all with the Texans, and has 927 career receptions, 12,661 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns. The most impressive thing about those numbers? The fact that he’€™s had a relatively mediocre (at best) group of quarterbacks throwing him the ball over the course of his career: Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, Sage Rosenfels and David Carr. Considering the level of talent on the pre-2012 Texans offense, it’s a remarkable run.

However, when it comes to assembling a trade, the biggest hurdle might be trying to work around Johnson’s sizable contract. According to Rotoworld, Johnson still has $34.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2016. For a receiver who is set to turn 33 in July — even one who has been as productive over the last five years as Johnson — that’€™s a major financial hit. While the Patriots could get some cap relief via the recent indictment of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, that might still be too much to handle from a financial perspective.

In addition, a Johnson trade would leave $11.96 million in dead money against Houston’s 2014 cap, according to NFL Media’€™s Albert Breer. It is worth noting that overthecap.com reports that the Texans would save $3.68 million against the cap if he was dealt before June 1, so if there is going to be a trade, it would be in Houston’s best interest to do something as soon as possible.

Some have drawn an analogy between Johnson and Randy Moss, who was acquired by the Patriots in the spring of 2007 after two sad and sorrowful seasons in Oakland. While Johnson doesn’t necessarily have the reputation as the third rail of the NFL that Moss had over his first decade or so in the league, both have put up great numbers over the course of their career, and both did it with some decidedly average quarterbacks. Sprung from the Raiders, Moss went on to three-plus seasons of great success with New England before being dealt to the Vikings.

However, it is important to note that Johnson is set to turn 33 this summer, while Moss had just turned 30 when the Patriots picked him up. That’€™s not a colossal age difference, but something that has to be taken into consideration when you are approaching the team-building process for the next few years.

Ultimately, the Patriots should be expected to at least inquire about the possibility of Johnson. But unless the receiver is willing to re-work his contract — or New England is able to move a lot of money around over the next couple of weeks — it seems like a bit of a long shot, at least at this point.

Read More: Andre Johnson, Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Ryan Mallett
Jimmy Garoppolo: Right now, it’s all about learning from Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett 05.13.14 at 1:50 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo acknowledged he has an uphill climb when it comes to playing time. (AP)

Jimmy Garoppolo acknowledged he has an uphill climb when it comes to playing time. (AP)

FOXBORO — Patriots second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo can’t remember the last time he spent the whole year as a reserve.

“I don’t know if I ever … I don’t know,” he confessed with a smile Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t think I ever have.”

There’s a first time for everything, and Garoppolo acknowledges the reality of the situation he’s walking into with the Patriots. The Eastern Illinois product will likely spend the 2014 sitting and watching Tom Brady (and perhaps Ryan Mallett), and he said he’s going to be all about learning from the two of them.

“They’re two guys who have been in the league for a very long time, and both have been successful quarterbacks in this league. That’s what I’m trying to become,” he said. “They both have a tremendous amount of knowledge they can share with me and I’m trying to pick up every little nugget I can.

“I just have to come in with the right mindset of I’ll learn the playbook as fast as possible, adjust the the NFL game, the NFL speed as fast as possible. If I can do that, I’ll be in good shape.”

Here are some of the highlights of his Tuesday afternoon Q&A with the media:
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady,
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price discuss selections of Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garoppolo, future of Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady succession plan 05.10.14 at 1:59 am ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price recap a busy first two days for the Patriots in the 2014 NFL draft, including the selection of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and defensive tackle Dominique Easley and what it means for the immediate and long-term future of the Patriots. They discuss the future of Ryan Mallett and what the selection of Garoppolo might mean for the succession plan for Tom Brady in New England.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, Chris Price, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Petraglia
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