Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Monday to talk about the huge losses to injury on the Patriots offense and the status on Tom Brady. To hear the interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.
Life has been made much tougher for Garoppolo, who will have to start the first four games of the season without some key offensive weapons. News broke Sunday that running back Dion Lewis will need a second knee surgery and will miss significant time. The absence of Lewis, who shined in seven games before tearing his ACL last November, provides an extra challenge to Garoppolo, but he takes comfort in the gang of halfbacks behind him.
“He was doing a heck of a job,” Garoppolo said of Lewis. “Seeing him go down with that injury was tough, but it’s kind of the Patriot Way. Next man up, the running backs behind him, James White and Branden Bolden, they both played well the rest of the season. It’s nice having a good crew of running backs like that, you could interchange in and out.”
Lewis isn’t the only starter on offense who is sidelined with an injury. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer reportedly will be placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. And right guard Shaq Mason broke his hand and his return date is unknown.
There have been plenty of moves on the offensive line throughout preseason, but that’s just how training camp goes, according to Garoppolo.
“Whether it’s injuries, whether it’s just coach mixing an matching all the guys up there, injuries are going to happen throughout the year,” Garoppolo said. “That’s just how it goes, I’ve been in it for a couple of years now and you just see that from year after year. For those big guys to be able to play with one another, it really is tough, but it’s a good thing they can all do it with one another.”
Garoppolo was slated to come off the bench behind Brady in Thursday’s 23-22 preseason win against the Bears. However, Brady reportedly cut his hand on scissors before the game and was unavailable. Brady also has been excused from practice both Sunday and Monday for non-injury reasons.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Garoppolo said on where Brady’s been. “It’s kind of like the game day, I thought he was going to start. … It’s just kind of how we roll around here though, you never know when your number is going to be called, you’ve always got to be ready, and it worked out pretty well.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
On joint practices with the Saints and the Bears during training camp: “I love the joint practices, personally. Not that it gets old after a while, but you go against the same guys, same look, they know your tendencies, you know theirs, you’re with these guys literally for 14-15 hours a day. After a while, it’s refreshing to get a new face in there, new tendencies or whatever. The competitiveness obviously comes out, obviously against the Bears in practice it was pretty evident.”
On learning from Brady: “You learn so much from the guy, he’s obviously a tremendous quarterback, he’s been doing it for so long now. Each quarterback has a different style on how they lead, how they approach everything. Me and Tom are real similar in ways, but we’re different in ways, too. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to make it your own, you don’t want to come in and be phony and be someone you’re not, you just have to go about it as you would.”
On his relationship with Bill Belichick: “It’s a good relationship. He’s a very smart coach and I’ve learned a ton from him. I’ve learned from all of these guys who have been doing it for so long. Tom, Coach Belichick, even Josh McDaniels, all three of them just are non-stop teaching you and you just try to pick up little tidbits as you go and put them towards your game.”
On the progress of Malcolm Mitchell: “He’s progressing really well, he really is. He’s got big strong hands, he catches everything you throw at the guy, as a quarterback you love that. You don’t want a guy who bobbles it, he’s going to catch it clean for you every time and that’s a comforting feeling. It’s disappointing what happened to his elbow, pretty disturbing what happened to it. … I saw the replay and it was just not good. But he was having a good camp, hopefully he comes back, he’s ready to roll and everything and can just keep progressing the way he was.”