Cyrus Jones picks off a pass against the Bears in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)If last year taught us anything it's that a dominating defense can win championships.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE


FOXBORO — Nearly 24 hours later, Bill Belichick isn’t changing his approach on the way the Tom Brady matter was held before Thursday’s preseason game with the Bears.

FOXBORO — Nearly 24 hours later, Bill Belichick isn’t changing his approach on the way the Tom Brady matter was held before Thursday’s preseason game with the Bears.

Bill Belichick said he made the decision not to play Tom Brady vs. Bears. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Bill Belichick said he made the decision not to play Tom Brady vs. Bears. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Nearly 24 hours later, Bill Belichick isn’t changing his approach on the way the Tom Brady matter was held before Thursday’s preseason game with the Bears.

About 60 minutes before Thursday’s game, Belichick told the team’s pregame radio broadcast that the quarterback would be making his preseason debut and that “all three” quarterback would see playing against Chicago. Then, during warmups, only Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett appeared. Brady had left the building with what was reported as a scissors cut to his thumb.

After the game, Belichick did not acknowledge the report of Brady cutting his finger with scissors before the game. He only said that he “made a decision before the game to play just Jimmy and Jacoby.”

On Friday, he reiterated that position during his traditional day-after conference call with reporters.

“As I said [after the game], I made the decision. I don’t really have anything else to add,” Belichick said at the end of the call.

After warmups, Brady was spotted leaving the Gillette Stadium facility in street clothes. Garoppolo started the game and Brady missed his second straight game.

Belichick would only address the story as it pertained to how Garoppolo, (16-for-21 for 181 yards and a touchdown pass to AJ Debry) handled himself filling in at the last moment.

“That’s part of football,” Belichick said. “Things happen that are unexpected and he’s been prepared for that the day he got here. I think all of our players are. Sometimes things happen and they change and you have to adjust to them. On offense and for the quarterbacks, we refer to that as an audible.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Former Patriots executive and current Fox NFL analyst Michael Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk all things Patriots, especially Jimmy Garoppolo.

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.”

Lombardi brought up the team potentially signing him to an incentive based deal to keep him around until Brady retires.

“There are a lot of ways to work around that,” Lombardi said. “You can sign him to a contract with incentives to build into a starter and what is the market value for him? Brock Osweiler got over $16 million a year and he started very few games. We know the quarterback market is going to be really lucrative. Kirk Cousins couldn’t even get a deal with the Redskins and have to sign a franchise tender. We know deals are going to lucrative if they play well and I think that is what will come down. If Jimmy plays well, he controls a lot of this situation. If he doesn’t play well, the Patriots control it.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
The offensive line looked better against the Bears than they did against the Saints. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The offensive line looked better against the Bears than they did against the Saints. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — One of the most open positions on the team at this point in the preseason is the offensive line, especially on the interior.

Overall, it was a much better showing than the first preseason game against the Saints as Thursday the offense was able to rack up 114 yards on the ground.

“It’s always a nice feeling when you walk away feeling good from the game, no bumps or bruises or anything and you owe that to those guys up front,” Jimmy Garoppolo said. “Running backs and tight ends included, they all blocked really well for me tonight. It’s always a nice feeling having that.”

Here is how they looked on each drive (left-to-right) in Thursday’s second preseason game against the Bears.

1. Nate Solder-Joe Thuney-David Andrews-Josh Kline-Marcus Cannon
2. Solder-Thuney-Andrews-Kline-Cannon
3. Solder-Thuney-Bryan Stork-Kline-Cannon
4. Solder-Thuney-Stork-Kline-Cannon
5. Solder-Thuney-Andrews-Kline-Cannon
6. Solder-Thuney-Stork-Kline-Cannon
*Jimmy Garoppolo out*
7. LaAdrian Waddle-Chris Barker-Ted Karras-Jon Halapio-Cameron Fleming
8. Fleming-Barker-Karras-Halapio-Keavon Milton
9. Fleming-Barker-Karras-Halapio Milton
10. Fleming-Barker-Karras-Halapio Milton

ANALYSIS: The biggest surprise of the game was offensive guard Shaq Mason not dressing, which comes after he was a full participant in practice all week, including Wednesday’s walkthrough. Kline took his place and had an up-and-down game, really struggling along the goal line. … As a group they struggled early on, but picked it up as the game went along and made some big holes for LeGarrette Blount and Tyler Gaffney to run through. … Once again Andrews started over Stork. It’s unclear why they brought Andrews back after Stork’s second series, but they each finished with three drives apiece. It’s worth noting Andrews was in there for the touchdown drive. … Thuney started at left guard once again and it appears that will be the case Week 1 in Arizona. … If Sebastian Vollmer (PUP) isn’t ready for Week 1, it looks like Cannon would get the nod at right tackle.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

James Harrison really doesn’t care much for Roger Goodell.

James Harrison is no fan of Roger Goodell.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

James Harrison is no fan of Roger Goodell. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

James Harrison really doesn’t care much for Roger Goodell.

The Steelers linebacker told reporters Thursday he’s agreed to meet with Goodell to discuss the PED accusations made against him in the Al-Jazeera report, but said that he’d welcome the chance for the interview to be filmed live because he has nothing to hide.

Harrison initially resisted the idea of submitting to an interview with the commissioner, but has since agreed to meet with investigators at the end of the month. Goodell had threatened to suspend the players named in the report, a group that includes Harrison, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, under the umbrella of “conduct detrimental” if they did not speak with him about the story.

“If it goes to conduct detrimental, it leans to the hands of that crook — I mean Roger Goodell — and he can do whatever he wants,” Harrison said. “That’s just the collective bargaining agreement that the players signed.

“Whatever evidence they might have or reasoning for questioning for me is out of my control, I don’t know,” Harrison added. “I wouldn’t have a problem with it being filmed live. I’ve been prosecuted and persecuted publicly in the media by them for something I didn’t do, so I don’t see why we couldn’t have the media there and do a live interview. They can ask the questions and I can answer them, and you all can see whatever evidence it is they say they got.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price