|What can history tell us when it comes to how Bill Belichick assigns QB reps in preseason finale?||08.28.16 at 12:16 pm ET|
Tom Brady has played in just four preseason finales since he took over as the starting quarterback:
2011: 5-for-9, 116 yards, 15 snaps vs. Giants
2010: 4-for-8, 51 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 13 snaps vs. Giants
2003: 8-for-10, 63 yards, 1 TD, 12 snaps vs. Bears
2002: 7-for-10, 59 yards, 20 snaps vs. Redskins
In a usual year, this would be the type of game where Brady and backup Jimmy Garoppolo would sit for almost all of the evening while the third-stringer would go just about wire-to-wire. (Last year, Ryan Lindley played the whole game against the Giants.) But this isn’t you’re usual preseason. As a result, expect the workload for Garoppolo to resemble Brady’s 2010 and 2011 outings against the Giants — anywhere between 12 to 15 snaps or two series, whichever comes first, before yielding to Jacoby Brissett for the rest of the evening.
To add some context to the discussion, Garoppolo has played in one preseason finale while with the Patriots. That came as a rookie in 2014 — he played all 69 offensive snaps against the Giants and went 22-for-42 for 284 yards, with one touchdown, one interception and three sacks.
|Who will start at QB for Patriots in preseason finale against Giants?||08.27.16 at 7:59 pm ET|
After spending last week wondering how Bill Belichick was going to divide the quarterback reps in the third preseason game against the Panthers, it looks like we’re all going to be asking the same question this week for the preseason finale against the Giants.
On a conference call with the media Saturday, Belichick said there are several things at play when it comes to making his decision: It’s the last chance for Tom Brady to get game reps until he starts his suspension. The game also represents one more opportunity for Jimmy Garoppolo to get fully ready for the regular-season opener. And the hope that Jacoby Brissett can continue to build on an impressive performance Friday against the Panthers. All have to figure into the game plan for Thursday’s clash with New York.
“We want to get Jimmy ready for the Arizona game,” Belichick said. “Tom isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them.
“We could play all three quarterbacks a lot [against the Giants] and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t. We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another.”
In the end, Belichick said “there’s no perfect solution.”
“They all need to get ready for different things,” Belichick said of the quarterbacks. “What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again.
“So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up.”
|Jimmy Garoppolo admits he has to ‘get the little things corrected or they’re going to bite us in the butt’||at 12:13 am ET|
The film doesn’t lie. Neither does instant replay on a smart tablet on the sideline.
Jimmy Garoppolo struggled Friday night to get the Patriots into any sort of offensive rhythm and was the only Patriots quarterback not to throw a touchdown pass in a 19-17 win over the Panthers Friday night at Bank of America Stadium.
There are two plays that he will focus on during film session over the weekend. On the first drive of the night, he threw a pass intended for Julian Edelman at the Panthers 10. Edelman stopped on the in route. Garoppolo thought he would keep moving. The pass went in and out of the hands of linebacker Luke Kuechly.
“Just a little miscommunication between us,” Garoppolo said. “I can’t make that throw. Can’t put it in the linebacker’s hands and give him a chance like that. Just got to be smart in the red zone like that.”
The other big mistake came late in the first half when he was chased down from behind by Thomas Davis, Jr. and stripped of the ball inside the Patriots 15. Fortunately for Garoppolo, James White was there to fall on the ball.
Garoppolo was asked if splitting reps in practice was taking away from his ability to read patterns or feel pressure.
“Nah. It’s my fault. I can’t put it in the linebacker’s hands like that,” Garoppolo said. “It’s just bottom line. Just got to be smart. It’s tight windows, tight throws. Just got to finish with touchdowns.”
Garoppolo started and played the first three series before being relieved by Tom Brady. He finished 9-of-15 for 57 yards and was stripped of the ball once. Garoppolo has two weeks to get ready for the opener Sept. 11 in Arizona.
“We’ll do our best to get in there,” Garoppolo said. “We have two weeks until then and we’ll work. There’s little things here and there. Overall, there’s some good things that we did tonight. We just have to get the little things corrected or they’re going to bite us in the butt. We’re going to work our tails off to get to that point. We’ll get there.”
|Stock Watch: Who’s up, who’s down after preseason win over Panthers||08.26.16 at 11:57 pm ET|
Taking a quick look at who was up and who was down for the Patriots in Friday’s preseason slate against the Panthers:
The Patriots secondary. The New England defensive backs came away with three interceptions on the night, with Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon picking off Cam Newton (twice) and backup Derek Anderson (once).
Tom Brady. The veteran saw his first taste of action this preseason in the first half, and while he was 3-for-9 for 76 yards and a touchdown on the night, his energy and enthusiasm was palpable. It’s debatable as to how valuable the work for Brady was — he’ll be on the shelf until Week 5 of the regular season, thanks to You Know Who. But it was a good first step for him.
Chris Hogan. The new receiver, who will likely step into the role that Brandon LaFell had the last two years, showed some impressive quicks and good chemistry. He ended the night with five catches on six targets for 62 yards and a touchdown, and appears to be ready for the regular season.
Third-down defense. The Patriots were excellent when it came to getting off the field, holding Carolina to 1-for-10 on third down to start the night and 5-for-17 overall.
Cyrus Jones. The rookie out of Alabama had a 60-yard punt return that led to New England’s second touchdown of the night, a 12-yard pass play from Jacoby Brissett to DeAndre Carter that came five plays later. In addition, he was part of a New England secondary that shut down Newton. All in all, a good night for the first-year player.
Third-down offense. As good as the third-down defense was, the third-down offense was that bad. Brady delivered a jolt to the New England offense when he entered the game, but the group as a whole smply couldn’t string together extended drives. The Patriots were 0-for-7 on third down in the first half, and didn’t connect on third down until Brissett found Carter on a touchdown pass play late in the third quarter. (New England finished 1-for-13 overall.) Truth be told, the inconsistency was an issue throughout, as New England was overly reliant on the defense much of the evening.
Jimmy Garoppolo. If you are stacking his three preseason starts against each other, Friday night’s performance was the roughest of the three. Even with some short fields courtesy of the defense and special teams, Garoppolo was unable to find much offensive traction on the night. He went 9-for-15 for 57 yards and appeared rattled at times in the face of the Carolina defense.
Stephen Gostkowski. One of his missed field goals was likely the result of a bad snap from Joe Cardona, but there was no denying the fact that it wasn’t Gostkowski’s finest hour. He missed a 30-yarder and a 52-yarder. He did connect on a 25-yard attempt in the first half and added a 30-yarder in the second half, but the misses will be a point of emphasis this week.
AJ Derby. The tight end struggled with some drops, and it looked like he might have missed at least one blocking assignment in the first half. (He did have a nice fourth-quarter catch from Brissett.) After a really good performance last week against the Bears that might have cemented his spot as the third tight end, it was a bit of a step back for the youngster.
Red-zone efficiency. The Patriots were just 1-for-4 in the red zone against the Panthers. That was on the heels of a 2-for-5 effort last week against the Bears and a 1-for-3 performance in the preseason opener against the Saints. Maybe that starts to improve when the Patriots have their full collection of offensive options on the field — including Rob Gronkowski, who is one of the best red-zone threats in the league. But New England needs to consistently start finishing drives with touchdowns instead of field goals.
|Tom Brady debuts, Jacoby Brissett, defense shines, Jimmy Garoppolo struggles in win over Panthers||at 10:50 pm ET|
Tom Brady made his long-awaited preseason debut in relief, completing 3-of-9 passes for 74 yards, including a perfect touch pass for a 33-yard touchdown to Chris Hogan, as the Patriots beat the Panthers, 19-17, Friday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The Patriots (3-0) get their final preseason tune-up this Thursday night at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. The Patriots will have to cut their roster down to 75 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Brady came on late in the first quarter for a struggling Jimmy Garoppolo and played four series, mostly in the second quarter. Brady was sacked on his last snap of the night. It was the first time Brady came on in relief in a game of any kind since replacing Drew Bledsoe against the Jets on Sept. 23, 2001.
Also making his preseason debut was receiver Julian Edelman. He played most of the first half, catching one pass (from Brady) on three targets for six yards.
Garoppolo started and then came in for Brady to run a two-minute drill at the end of the first half. He nearly fumbled the ball inside the Panthers 15 before James White recovered. Garoppolo finished the first half 5-for-9 for 37 yards, a fumble and an intentional grounding.
Not including taking two knees to end the first half, Garoppolo, who started the second half, was under center for six series, going 9-for-15 for 57 yards for the game.
Jacoby Brissett came one and completed his first three passes late in the third quarter, completing an in-cut to DeAndre Carter from 12 yards for a touchdown. Brissett, the rookie out of North Carolina State, completed all nine passes on the night for 83 yards and the touchdown.
For the full box score, click here.
Another big highlight was an electric 60-yard punt return in the third quarter by rookie Cyrus Jones that set up Brissett’s first touchdown.
The best news of the night for the Patriots was the play of the secondary. They completely shut down 2015 MVP Cam Newton, intercepting him twice on picks from Logan Ryan and Devin McCourty. Duron Harmon also picked off Derek Anderson.
|Jonathan Kraft has no concerns about Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo relationship: ‘Same as it’s always been’||at 7:52 pm ET|
There was a lot of speculation this week that Brady was upset that preseason snaps were being taken away from him in an effort to get Jimmy Garoppolo ready for the regular season.
The team president said he has no concerns about his star quarterback’s desire to play or his competitiveness on the field as it relates to keeping as many snaps to himself in the preseason.
Kraft was asked on the team’s radio pregame show if he senses that the reality is setting in for Brady that suspension is about to begin.
“I think it set in when the decision came down and Tom, as he said publicly when he made the decision the appeal what had happened, he just wanted to move on from this,” Kraft said. “So, I think it’s settled in.
“Tom’s a thoughtful, mature person. I don’t think there’s any difference in his mindset today than there was the day that the en banc decision came down.”
Is there any change in the relationship between Brady and Garoppolo?
“The relationship with Jimmy is the same as it’s always been, which I think is the way it should be,” Kraft said. “I think since Jimmy’s got to the team, Tom’s been trying to help make him as good of an NFL quarterback as he can be because given the nature of our game, you don’t expect it to be through suspension for somebody like Tom Brady, but obviously in the National Football League, players for a lots of different reasons end up not being on the football field.
“Your team is only as good as the person that’s coming in to take your place. Tom cares deeply about the competitiveness of our football team.”
“We’ll see how it goes but I think they’ll all play.” Belichick told Scott Zolak. Belichick did not indicate who would start.
Of course, last week Belichick indicated that all three would play against the Bears and then Brady had a mishap with the scissors.
The indication at the last minute has been that Garoppolo will likely start against Carolina. Brady is expected to come in for work and then Garoppolo could return before Jacoby Brissett finishes up.
Belichick indicated that the 90 degree temperatures and the high humidity will help condition the team.
“There are so many different ways for us to improve tonight. [Humidity] is definitely one of them,” Belichick said.
Here are other takeaways from Belichick:
On running back DJ Foster getting reps against Carolina: “Hopefully. He had a good week of practice. We’ll see what that looks like, maying running back, maybe returning kicks.”
On linebacker Barkevious Mingo and where he might play, and if that might include special teams: “We’ll just have to see how that goes. Mingo’s got some versatility. Good set of skills hopefully we’ll be able to utilize.” Belichick indicated that Mingo can play on or off the line of scrimmage.
On playing most of the players who made the trip to Carolina: “We’ll play all the players that are able to play to night.”
Barkevious Mingo is the first to wear No. 51 since Jerod Mayo retired. Kamu Grugier-Hill made the trip but is not expected to play because of a sudden illness.
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