Reggie Wayne speaks to reporters at his new Patriots locker at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Reggie Wayne speaks to reporters at his new Patriots locker at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick has seen enough of young and veteran players alike to know that there’s no substitute for game action.

That’s why he decided to throw 15-year veteran receiver Reggie Wayne into Friday game with Tom Brady right from the start.

Wayne played 21 snaps but clearly was still finding his way. He was targeted just once, and dropped the one pass (a bullet through his hands) that was thrown his way – a 5-yard dig or “sit” route over the middle in the first quarter.

How comfortable did Reggie Wayne (sporting his new No. 15) look to Belichick after watching film of the game Saturday?

“Well, you have to ask him that question,” Belichick said before noting that Wayne is not the only one on a cram course in the Patriots playbook. “I’m not sure. There’s a lot to learn in a few days. There’s several players in that situation, Mike Williams, Reggie, Asante Cleveland hasn’t been here very long. Brought [offensive lineman] Chris Martin back, he had been here before so he’s probably a little bit ahead but it’s pretty common around the league. See a lot of teams in that situation, bring in a player at this point in training camp and having to catch them up.”

After each series, Wayne and Brady sat down to one another on the Patriots sideline and chatted. Wayne seemed to appreciate Brady’s concern and his ability to ignore the noise of Deflategate.

“In spite of all of all that stuff, [Brady will] pull me to the side and help me out,” Wayne told reporters after the game.

To Belichick, putting Wayne in Friday’s game was much more about seeing him on film at game speed.

“I think it’s always different in a game,” Belichick noted. “The game speed, timing and communication, not necessarily verbal but the timing and communication with the quarterback, the routes and so forth. Practice is good and that certainly helps but it’s never quite the same as the game. That’s something we can learn from and build on. You go out there in practice and work on that stuff all you want. But it’s always a little bit different in a game. It’s good to start that process. Obviously, it’s got a long way to go but keep working on it.”

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Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots came back to Foxboro early Saturday morning after their 17-16 preseason win over the Panthers but fullback James Develin did not accompany them.

James Develin catches a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the first half of the AFC championship in January. (Elsa/Getty Images)

James Develin catches a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the first half of the AFC championship in January. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The Patriots came back to Foxboro early Saturday morning after their 17-16 preseason win over the Panthers but fullback James Develin did not accompany them.

Bill Belichick announced on his conference call Saturday that Develin stayed back in Charlotte to have his injured right leg treated. That treatment, according to multiple reports, was surgery after a clean break.

“He didn’t come back with us on the trip. He’s down there in North Carolina, in Charlotte. Don’t really have anything at this point,” Belichick said.

Mike Reiss of ESPN reported that Develin sustained a broken right tibia on a hit with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter Friday night. The injury, according to Reiss, was not immediately considered season-ending but rather a clean break that some in the organization felt could heal in 6-8 weeks. But Reiss pointed to medical skeptics who doubt that optimistic timetable and see a longer recovery for the valuable blocking/pass-catching fullback.

Belichick did not confirm the details of the severity of the injury, only to say that the team is considering its options for replacing him.

“We’ll have to take a look at that,” Belichick said. “I’m not sure right now. Just happened last night. Take a look at what our options are, talk about the situation and figure out what we want to try to do.”

Develin, who gained 10 yards on the play, rolled to his left and caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo. But as he was turning, his right foot appeared to stick in the turf. When it released after a tackle from linebacker David Mayo, it crashed into the leg of safety Dean Marlowe. Develin’s lower right leg bent backward and he had to be carted off with 8:01 left in the game.

After a few moments on the field with medical staff, coach Bill Belichick came onto the field and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hate to see that,” is all Belichick said after the game.

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Mike Petraglia
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WEEI

Scott Chandler hauls in a first-half touchdown pass.</p>
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The injury to James Develin didn’t look good as he was carted off the field in the fourth quarter Friday night in Charlotte. As it turns out, the news is not good either.

James Develin

James Develin

The injury to James Develin didn’t look good as he was carted off the field in the fourth quarter Friday night in Charlotte. As it turns out, the news is not good either.

According to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride, citing a team source, Develin broke his right leg after catching a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo midway through the fourth quarter.

Develin, who gained 10 yards on the play, rolled to his left and caught a pass. But as he was turning, his right foot appeared to stick in the turf. When it released after a tackle from linebacker David Mayo, it crashed into the leg of safety Dean Marlowe. Develin’s lower right leg bent backward and he had to be carted off with 8:01 left in the game.

After a few moments on the field with medical staff, coach Bill Belichick came onto the field and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hate to see that,” is all Belichick would say after the game.

“He’s one of the hardest workers in the locker room, a real team guy,” added Garoppolo. “It’s tough to see him go down like that, especially when things were going well, had a little bit of momentum with us and it’s unfortunate. All the prayers out to him for sure.”

Tom Brady has often called Develin, a former defensive end at Brown, one of the most dependable players on the team.

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Mike Petraglia
Jimmy Garoppolo drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers Friday night. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers Friday night. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo learned a couple of very valuable lessons Friday night in New England’s 17-16 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers.

First, make sure of your reads and your throws and take care of the football. And secondly, and maybe more importantly, it’s not how you start but how you finish.

Certainly, Garoppolo watched as the 2014 Patriots proved that, winning the Super Bowl last season after a very shaky 2-2 start.

Friday night, it was Garoppolo who looked shaky at the start. Opening the second half in relief of Tom Brady, Garoppolo threw to the outside for Jonathan Krause. The ball was badly underthrown and Bene Benwikere stepped in front and had an easy pick-6. But he dropped the ball. After a run from LeGarrette Blount and a completion to Michael Hoomanawanui, Garoppolo threw a pass to the left sideline for Chris Harper.

Amazingly, Josh Norman dropped the ball or Garoppolo would have been intercepted. Two sure-fire picks on his first three throws.

“Good fortune, I guess, on a couple of those,” Garoppolo said. “Those are throws you can’t make. You’ve just got to learn from those.”

Garoppolo said he will take that lesson into the preseason finale Thursday night against the Giants.

“There’s a ton of things,” Garoppolo said. “Those two throws tonight. Those were near-picks. You don’t want to have any of those. It’s Game 4. We’re just going to go into it like every other week. We’re going into it, and while I’m in there, just compete.”

Garoppolo finished the night leading the Patriots back from a 16-7 hole to a 17-16 win. He completed 12 of his next 14 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown to Dion Lewis. The Lewis connection came immediately after a nice pass of 40 yards to Dobson down the right sideline in the fourth quarter, highlighting a four-play, 60-yard drive.

“It was an important drive for sure,” Garoppolo said. “Aaron made a huge play down the sideline, a great catch. Dion got open for the touchdown. It was really all those guys doing their job on every play. It was just one play after another, we were executing. It turned out to be a good drive.”

He’ll need several good drives if his number is called on Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh in the season opener. Right now, Garoppolo is happy with the progress he’s continuing to make.

“I’m doing all right with it,” Garoppolo said. “It is what it is, really. Can’t really control any part of it. The less you worry about it, the better. There’s really no point to worry about it. I’m doing pretty good.”

Garoppolo said he could sense that the team built off its come-from-behind win last week in New Orleans.

“Completely different game but I’m sure the momentum from last week, getting that win, helped us a little bit, get some energy going. We came out and played pretty well,” Garoppolo said. “Executing better. That’s what it comes down to. First game, second game, third game, they’re all different. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and execute, do whatever the coach tells you to do. When all 11 guys are doing that, you get a good result.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The first six series of the night looked like the previous five of the season for Tom Brady. Not good.

The first six series of the night looked like the previous five of the season for Tom Brady. Not good.

He was sacked once, threw a pair of interceptions (including one that was more of a fumble than a pick), nearly stumbled into the ground trying to make a tackle after one of the interceptions and didn’t seem to be on the same page with any of his receivers.

There was the overthrow of an open Scott Chandler in the first quarter. The drop by Reggie Wayne in the second quarter.

All in all, Brady was 2-for-7 for 13 yards and two interceptions in his first six drives of the night.

“Obviously, we couldn’t do anything in the first half, couldn’t run, couldn’t throw,” coach Bill Belichick noted after the 17-16 preseason win over the Panthers in Charlotte.

In Brady’s defense, he was playing without his starting center (Bryan Stork), starting tight end (Rob Gronkowski), and two starting receivers (Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell).

Over his first 12 preseason drives, Brady was 5-for-16 for 36 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. Starters or not, that’s ugly.

Belichick was asked specifically to comment on Brady’s play.

“I said we didn’t do much offensively,” Belichick reiterated.

Here are some other takeaways from Belichick Friday night:

On Reggie Wayne playing in the first half:

“[We wanted him to] play a little bit. Fifteen or 20 plays, or whatever it was.”

On playing the rugged Carolina Panthers:

“It was another interesting game. We had a lot of good situations come up at the end of the game, end of the first half. I thought our guys competed well. As usual, it’s a physical, tough game against the Panthers. They’re well coached, very good fundamental team. They certainly gave us some problems. I thought we hung in there. I’m proud of the way the guys competed today.”

On where the team stands heading into Tuesday’s cut deadline down to 75 players. (Patriots are at 84):

“We all have a lot of work to do. Clock’s ticking. Just keep grinding it out here and see if we can continue to make progress. We certainly have a lot of work to do.”

On his defensive back group, which including Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung back at safety and Tarell Brown, Brandon Fletcher and Malcolm Butler as corners:

“I thought we competed well. We’ll look at the film and see how it all unfolded. We competed all the way through against a good football team on the road. Some of those plays were extended with the quarterback scrambling around, a couple little longer than maybe we normally do. I thought defensively we competed hard. We were out there for a long time and competed all the way through.”

On the performance of Scott Chandler, making his Patriots preseason debut:

“It was good to get a few guys back. Scott has gotten a lot of time on the field (in practice), missed a little bit of time recently but it was good to get him back.”

On the right leg injury to fullback James Develin (no update postgame):

“Hate to see that.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia