Hogan: Jimmy Garoppolo playing 'unbelievable' before injury

Hogan: Jimmy Garoppolo playing 'unbelievable' before injury

FOXBORO – Chris Hogan didn’t mince words when asked his review of Jimmy Garoppolo.

“Jimmy was playing unbelievable,” said Hogan with a shake of his head. “The kid was playing lights out. That goes to his preparation and what we talked about as a team last week but this is the NFL and that kind of stuff happens.”

That “stuff” was Garoppolo getting accordioned into the Gillette Stadium turf after his 27th throw of the first half. It may well be his final attempt of 2016 since his injured shoulder will keep him out Thursday and could keep him out through Week 4 as well.  

Asked if he feels for Garoppolo who sat behind Brady for two years, had his fortunes dangle as Roger Goodell and then the judicial system ruled on Brady’s fate and finally took the field with great success, Hogan answered immediately.

“Absolutely,” said Hogan. “On that play I didn’t even realize he got hurt because I was coming off to the sideline and then I looked back and saw Jimmy on the ground and you hate to see that.”

PATRIOTS 31, DOLPHINS 24Garoppolo may be able to return in Week 4 | Perry's first impressions | Curran's Best and Worst

Hogan had three catches for 47 yards in the first half. He was one of the many beneficiaries of Garoppolo’s ability to buy a little time, step up in the pocket and deliver. Hogan’s biggest catch came on a high throw down the middle when he took a shot in the midsection but held on as he hit the deck.  

The Dolphins seemed confounded early by Garoppolo getting the ball out quickly on his three-step drops.

Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said the quick release was no surprise.

“Well, I’d like to think that that would be smart of anybody standing back there with the kind of guys that we have, but that’s something that we have to know going in,” said Wake. “We have very talented front guys that get after the quarterback and if I was a quarterback I wouldn’t hold on to the ball either. That’s something that, again, you have to know going into the game we have to play accordingly. Again, trying to force their hand into our situation instead of the other way around is something that we have to do going forward.”

The Dolphins tinkered with their defense enough to make Garoppolo have to move a little more off his spot. That Garoppolo was forced to survey a little longer and throw under greater duress ultimately was a precursor to the hit from linebacker Kiko Alonso that drove Garoppolo from the game.

It was the kind of hit that maybe, if Garoppolo had more game reps, he might have taken measures to avoid since the risk-reward of a backpedaling throw off one’s back foot often equals a rough landing.

It’s the kind of play that, until a quarterback ends up on the wounded end of it, he may not even realize the risk involved.

Wake said he wasn’t surprised by Garoppolo’s command.

“I think people – generally – people fail to realize how small the difference is between a number one, and a two, and a three, and a four,” he theorized. “This is the NFL; everybody here is the best in the world. So, I don’t know if people think that the number two guy is going to be a bum. That would be silly. I don’t think our number two guy at any positon is a bum and it’s probably the same thing across the board of any team that’s in this league. To expect that he would’ve come out and laid an egg, I don’t understand that.”

Garoppolo got laid out. But he definitely didn’t lay an egg. 

Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

AP Photo

Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

Yes, please, on the proposed adjustment to defensive pass interference. No, thank you on the revised catch rule.

And I know I'm going to have my dreams crushed on both counts.

Despite all the arm-flapping and breath wasted that "NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A CATCH IS ANYMORE!!!!", long-distance pass interference has been a bigger bugaboo for the league for a much longer time.

In 2017, there were 129 pass interference calls longer than 15 yards. The proposed rule change that will be debated at next week's NFL Annual Meeting will make pass interference a 15-yard penalty unless it's egregious and intentional. In those cases, it will continue to be a spot foul

So overdue. For too long offenses have been rewarded by officials on 50-50 balls where DBs and receivers engage in subtle handfighting. It's absolutely illogical to expect middle-aged officials in okay (or worse) shape to keep pace with Gronk-sized receivers and whippet-quick defenders, then make calls on plays 40 yards downfield.

If you're going to throw a flag that gives the offense 40 yards, there should be an extreme degree of certainty accompanies that flag. And too often, the officials are forced to make educated guesses. Next thing you know, Joe Flacco and Rex Grossman are in the Super Bowl.

It's probably the most difficult penalty to call in football, yet it carries the greatest punishment for a defense? What sense does that make? 

I actually think the NFL should go a step beyond and make pass interference reviewable. I'll even make this concession -- it's reviewable only for DPI that puts the ball inside the 10 and is longer than 15 yards. How's that?

"More reviews?!?!? We don't need more reviews?!?!?!"

Okay, but you'll accept them when a dimwit coach argues a spot on a three-yard run that may or may not mean a first down, but not on a play that hands the offense half the field? Come on. Forward thinking.

As for the contention corners are going to begin bludgeoning receivers once they realize they're being beaten deep -- BAM! -- that's where you get the aggravated pass interference (API . . . trademarked 2018) that can be dropped on their heads.

A DB that doesn't turn to face the ball and runs through a receiver? An arm bar all the way downfield preventing a receiver from getting his hands up? A way-too-early arrival? That's API and it's a spot foul. What are the possible negative consequences?

It will now spawn debate as to what's aggravated PI and just garden variety PI. And it asks officials to make another judgment call.

But the truth is, it already is -- in many cases -- a judgment call. And if I were an official reaching for my flag on a Hail Mary from the 43 at the end of the game where there was jostling, I'd sure as hell be happy that I have the option to call garden variety PI and put the ball at the 28 rather than put the ball at the 1.

It's a rule change that makes the game better. That way you don't have calls like this or this. This 55-yarder would be an API (defender hugs Crabtree).

Tellingly, there's no outcry about the need to reform pass interference NOW like there is about the catch rule. You know what needs to happen? A few more plays like this where the Patriots profit. Then you'll see a damn MOVEMENT!


Pro day circuit shows Belichick in his element

Pro day circuit shows Belichick in his element

Bill Belichick is a teacher. His father was a teacher. His mother was a teacher. He is very much their son in that regard. 

The glimpses into Belichick's essence aren't as rare as you might think, but they still generate an inordinate amount of interest because he's arguably the best to ever execute the kind of teaching he's made his life's work.

Every time he takes several minutes to answer a conference call or press conference question thoughtfully, the hundreds of words found in the text of the transcribed answer typically create a stir on Twitter. NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, make every installment of the ‘Do Your Job’ series a must-watch.

Clips of Belichick on the practice field aren't necessarily hard to find, there just aren't many of them considering how many practices he's run over the course of his decades-long career. But thanks to more lax media policies at the college programs he visits for pro days, video of his on-the-field work pops up on a regular basis this time of year. They are mini-clinics dotting the internet. 

This is Belichick in his element. Even in the middle of a random university campus. Even with scouts, coaches and front-office people from around the league watching his every move. Whether he's coaching players one-on-one or three or four at a time, Belichick is imparting his wisdom on eager close-to-blank slates. All the while he's trying to evaluate how they're absorbing what he's giving them. Do they pay attention? How do they process information? Are they error-repeaters? 

It's a fascinating give-and-take between the 60-something coach trying to build a roster and the 20-something players trying to make one, some of whom hadn't yet hit kindergarten when Belichick won his first ring in New England. And he seems to enjoy it. 

Here's a quick look at some of what Belichick has been up to the last few days at Georgia, South Carolina and NC State.