FOXBORO — Jimmmy Garoppolo is pumped up about getting his first NFL start in the Patriots preseason finale this Thursday night against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

FOXBORO — Jimmmy Garoppolo is pumped up about getting his first NFL start in the Patriots preseason finale this Thursday night against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

“I’m excited about it,” Garoppolo said in front of his locker Monday after being tabbed the starter by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “It’s a good opportunity to get out there and get some quality reps. It’s going to be fun.

“I came in with mindset that I’m going to practice and study as if I was the starter. If you want to be a successful player in this league, you have to take the mental reps, the physical reps and take advantage of your opportunities.”

Garoppolo has thrown four touchdown passes in the first three preseason games, including at least one in each of the contests. He said Monday that he’s been able to get into a rhythm with his offensive teammates.

“Just get in a rhythm with the offense,” Garoppolo said. “I have a great group of guys around me who have really made my job a lot easier. So, just week in and week out, just improve and if you do that, it’s makes your job a lot easier.

“You always want to come in with a good attitude and thinking that you’re going to succeed in everything. Having that mindset really helped out a lot.”

Garoppolo said he still has a healthy perspective on his role with the team, as he is battling with Ryan Mallett to be Tom Brady‘s back-up.

“I’m still a rookie so I have a have a long way to go and a lot to learn still,” Garoppolo said. “That playbook is pretty thick so it’s just one of those things that if you keep learning, day in and day out, then you’re on the right track.”

“That’s just part of being a rookie. Each day if you keep improving and learning the system that much more, things will just gradually slow down for you.”

Garoppolo believes his early success, including throwing the only touchdown pass in a 23-6 loss to the Redskins in the preseason opener helped his early development.

“That doesn’t hurt. That was definitely a big building block, going from there,” he said. “It’s one of those things. You’re going to have your ups and downs as a rookie. That’s just part of the game. You have to keep gradually improving, day in and day out, and if you do that as a rookie, that’s all you can ask for.”

Garoppolo said at this point he’s not concerned with being the starter, just improving.

“No. It’s the opportunity that matters. As long as you get an opportunity to take advantage of that and just showcase what you can do with the players around you, that’s all you can ask for.

“Just the way he carries himself around the team, in meetings and everything. He really brings the best out in the guys around him. If you can do that, that’s the best thing a quarterback can do, I think.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and wide receiver Julian Edelman stopped by the WEEI studio at Gillette Stadium on Monday for a visit with Middays with MFB’s Christian Fauria and guest host Danny Picard. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots are coming off a strong effort in their third preseason game, a rout of the Panthers. But Bill Belichick is known for not allowing the team to accentuate the positives very long.

“Coach is very consistent with his coaching. He’s going to coach you the same way if we win or if we lose. And that’s what makes him such a great coach,” Jones said. “He’s going to pick out the things we did wrong, and he’s going to tell you about the things you did right. A lot of that is being a professional athlete — you know when you did good or you did bad. You’ve been playing the sport for this long, you know.”

Many people look at the third preseason game as the most important, but Jones insists that he doesn’t value one more than another.

“See, I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “A lot of different people look at it differently. I take every game seriously, like it will be the last game of the season. I know some people say, ‘It’s just preseason,’ but this is an opportunity for our team to go out there and get better week in and week out. I’m excited. I’m excited for this team to go forth into Week 1.

“As far as the preseason games, some people call it the dress rehearsal, but I take every game seriously.”

Neither play knew what to expect in terms of participation in the final preseason game against the Giants.

“Around here they keep you on your toes with everything,” Edelman said. “They don’t tell you how long you’re going to play, this, that. It’s like everything’s a test. Every week you don’t know how much you’re going to be playing, this, that, and you kind of have to just prepare every day, every week, even in the preseason you’re going to be playing a lot. Because they might say you’re not playing one week or something, and they throw you in there at the last minute, probably just to try to get a test of your mental toughness or something like that. That’s huge over here with the situational and the mental aspect of the game.”

Edelman, coming off a 105-catch season last year, acknowledged he’s reached a new comfort level with Tom Brady, but he’s wary of what can happen once the real games begin.

“Yeah, it’s probably the most confident I’ve ever been. With that said, it’s a lot different circumstances from the years in the past with how things are going and how things are now,” he said. “We’ve had some good plays and we’ve had some bad plays. There’s a lot of things that we have to work on that will get exposed in the regular season. We still have a week, two weeks, to try to get that done.

“When we go out there — we’ve got the Giants this week, we play Miami, a divisional game, first game of the year. Things always on opening day, as Christian can second, it doesn’t always go the same way, everyone’s kind of new, there’s always a crazy play here or something’s going on, it’s the start of the season. So you’ve really got to get ready for those situations and being able to adjust like that.”

With the ever-intense Brady at quarterback, Edelman knows no Patriots players can get in a comfort zone.

“It seems like each and every year I’ve played with him that he’s always a little more motivated the next year,” Edelman said of the QB. “That’s just kind of the guy he is. What’s his favorite game? It’s the next game. That’s just the competitor in Tom. He plays with that chip on his shoulder. … That’s really how he is. We’ll be playing a corn-hole game in the locker room and this guy is trying to win and is the most competitive guy over a gentleman’s best. That’s Tom. He wants to go out and he wants to do the best he can every time. That’s what a leader does. It becomes contagious and it makes other guys want to do the same thing.”

In a recent ESPN poll of NFL players, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was tabbed as the individual players would least like to get into a fistfight with, followed by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.

“I should be [on the list],” said a surprised Jones. “I’m [MMA star] Jon ‘Bones’ Jones‘ brother. What?”

Asked which players he would want to avoid, Jones said: “There’s some glass-eaters out there. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t fight them. That’s just not in me to say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to fight that guy.’ But there’s a few tough guys out there. … I like J.J. Watt. He’s tough. He’s a glass-eater. I’ll call him a glass-eater.”

Said Edelman: “Definitely Logan Mankins. Straight cattle-rancher. He should be like throwing hay [bales]. He’s quiet, he’s strong, he’s nasty. He’s nasty and tenacious. … It’s fun to watch.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Julian Edelman joins Christian and Danny Picard to talk about his approach going into the season, his performance this preseason, as well as the VMAs, and preventing cramps using mustard.

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Chandler Jones talks about his dominant performance against the Panthers and looks forward to the start of the regular season.

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FOXBORO — To no one’s surprise, Tom Brady will be getting the night off on Thursday in the preseason finale against the New York Giants.

Brady joins Dennis and Callahan heading into week four of the preseason. He explains how he exercises his brain to maintain and build brain fitness.

FOXBORO — To no one’s surprise, Tom Brady will be getting the night off on Thursday in the preseason finale against the New York Giants.

But in a bit of an eyebrow raiser, rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will get the starting nod, according to multiple reports.

Garoppolo, the Patriots’ second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois, has played in each of the first three preseason games, and came in for Brady last Friday against the Panthers in the middle of the third quarter. Garoppolo has thrown four touchdown passes so far in the preseason, including at least one in each game so far.

Garoppolo was 9-of-12 for 105 yards and a quarterback rating of 128.8.

Ryan Mallett saw action in only one series last Friday against Carolina, filling in for Tom Brady in the first quarter.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss Wes WelkerR

ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss Wes Welker‘s history of concussions, Ryan Mallett‘s future in the NFL and more. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

While Hasselbeck stands by his view from earlier this month that the Broncos have a leg up on the Patriots in terms of talent, he acknowledged that he is concerned about Welker, who suffered his third diagnosed concussion in 10 months during Denver’s preseason game against the Texans on Saturday.

“I said before, I think Denver has a better roster, if you look at both sides of the ball and the experience they have,” Hasselbeck said. “I’ve heard some people kind of minimize this Welker situation. … It, in some ways, annoys me when people minimize what Wes is able to do. Wes had 73 catches in an offense that’s got a ton of guys that get the football. … Outside of these concussions, the guy has been so reliable, so I think it’s a significant blow.

“Whether or not it swings the balance between New England and Denver, I don’t know. But if he, in fact, is done, and let’s face it: three concussions in 10 months, that’s not a good situation.”

While Welker’s career has been highlighted by his tough play and willingness to go over the middle of the field despite the risk of taking big hits, Hasselbeck said that the wide receiver’s increasing number of head injuries certainly is a cause for concern.

“You don’t know anything about the injuries in New England, so he gets there in 2007 and for the most part, plays in all 16 games with a few missed here and there. You guys saw hits that he took, you saw him get up dazed at times,” Hasselbeck said, adding: “I’m going to tell you right now, if he’s had three [concussions] in 10 months, and I’ve seen the hits that he took in New England … the shots that he took were brutal. So count them up.

“To me, I think Wes has had more than 10 concussions, from 2007 to now. Now, there’s no way to prove it, he would never admit, New England would never say that that’s the case. … I would be concerned.”

With Rams quarterback Sam Bradford out for the season with a torn ACL, St. Louis might consider acquiring a player such as Mallet. However, Hasselbeck expects a different future for the Arkansas product.

“I think he has the potential to be a starter but … everybody that thinks that he’s got this massive amount of trade value, I think you would have to look around, and you can blame Kevin Kolb, you can blame Matt Flynn for this this,” Hasselbeck said. “There have been guys … that have played well in preseason or even in [Brian] Hoyer‘s case, played well in mop-up duty and getting the opportunity to play somewhere else and then been very underwhelming.”

Hasselbeck continued: “I think Ryan Mallett‘s opportunity to become a starter will be to hit free agency and to go to a situation where he has an opportunity to compete for a job.”

For more Patriots news, go to the team page at

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan