FOXBORO — Just minutes after Bill Belichick told Scott Zolak on the Patriots radio pregame show that Tom Brady would play, Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft announced that there had been a last-minute change.
Asked if Brady would play, Kraft told the show, “I don’t believe so.”
This followed Bill Belichick telling the program that “you’ll see all three out there.”
Kraft declined to get into the reason for the change.
“I’ll let Bill Belichick address the on-field player situation,” Kraft said.
Jimmy Garoppolo did get the start as he readies for Sept. 11 in Arizona.
“I think Jimmy is a confident guy. He’s a confident guy,” Kraft said. “He’s also a humble guy. I think Tommy has that characteristic also. Tom was always extremely confident in his own abilities. It wasn’t expressed in a way that caused his teammates or others to be turned off to it. I think it’s very much something that draws people into him.
“Jimmy’s personality – he’s confident but also in a way where he’s humble and confident at the same time. If you can be like that, and much like Tom, he works incredibly hard. I’ve seen other backup quarterbacks who were sort of resigned to the fact that they were going to be the backup and probably not get on the field. You can almost sense [his] readiness. Guys in the past in the locker room, if they saw [a backup] like I’ve seen in the past, you could kind of sense that guys might not feel the same way about him [as they do Brady] just because of the way they carry themselves in the building. It’s tough. If you’re going to be the back up to Tom Brady, trying to be a combination of as good as Tom Brady and know you’re not going to play, it’s tough. It requires a special skill-set. I’ve definitely seen other back-ups who haven’t had that and Jimmy definitely does appear to have it.”
Kraft brought up the fact that Garoppolo is learning quickly and a good quarterback understudy, just like Bears back-up Brian Hoyer, who was in New England from 2009-11.
“I think early on, you meet him, and you saw as a rookie, he was very focused on improving,” Kraft said of Garoppolo. “And a lot of rookies come in with that attitude. But there wasn’t a resignation in him. I think he almost enjoyed the fact that he was Tom Brady’s backup, to sit in the room and be with Tom Brady, like Brian Hoyer.
“He just has a great attitude. He’s a great guy and he’s very focused on becoming a better quarterback and having the respect of his teammates. I think you can absolutely see that.”
Another topic addressed was the potential for HBO “Hard Knocks” coming to New England and the popularity of the Patriots on social media.
“I haven’t seen it but I will watch it on demand,” Kraft said of Hard Knocks.
Might the Patriots be featured in the upcoming years?
“[Laughter] Not in the next few years. We don’t fit the criteria,” Kraft said. “The only way they can force you is if you volunteer. But probably not happening. I personally have no interest in being on the show, not that they’d find me that interesting. I’d say for the team, it’s probably not happening.”
How might the fans get an “inside” look at the Patriots? Social media is the best bet for now.
“Follow us on Snapchat, Instagram or even Twitter, you get some of that [inside look],” Kraft said.
“In all seriousness, we’re the No. 1 team on Instagram, we’re the No. 1 team on Twitter. We’re No. 1 on Snapchat. We’re No. 2 on Facebook. Our engagement, it’s not just our followers, our engagement level is higher than any other teams. And we hear from those [social media] companies. Cecily Faenza, who does our social media, those companies talk to her all the time and say, ‘You’ve got to give lessons to other teams as to how they can get this type of engagement.’
“In all seriousness, if you want to see behind-the-scenes stuff and get content you can’t get anywhere else as a Patriots fan that’s interesting, I think you’ll enjoy it.”