Patriots

Bean: If Garoppolo's practices are biggest concern, '17 Patriots are going to be amazing

Bean: If Garoppolo's practices are biggest concern, '17 Patriots are going to be amazing

The Patriots are so good that we care about them practicing poorly.

Jimmy Garoppolo had a bad scrimmage Friday. He stunk, completing only 14 of 36 passes, in a performance that only adds to a reputation that he’s never been a good practice player at the NFL level. 

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In years past, or certainly in a different market, this would be but a footnote. The hyper-focused media of 2017 means that players’ practice snaps are counted and reported diligently. It’s useful information to have, but when you add an overload of information to a sports-obsessed town like Boston, you get people turning that footnote into an actual talking point. 

But it wasn’t just around here. Here’s what Mike Florio wrote in a post titled “Jimmy Garoppolo stinks it up in first 2017 scrimmage” on Pro Football Talk: 

It’s not quite yet time to send #Tommy floating on a sheet of ice.

Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, heralded as the real deal and suspected by some to be the potential choice to succeed Brady as soon as 2018, had a rough time at a scrimmage on Friday. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald describes the performance as “woeful.”

Garoppolo completed 14 of 36 passes (38.8 percent), leading his team to four field goals in nine drives.

Yes, Garoppolo didn’t have a star-studded cast of supporting characters. He nevertheless didn’t get it done, and to a certain extent it’s on him.

'You’re never happy about the incompletions, interceptions or anything like that, but it’s training camp,' Garoppolo said, via Howe. 'We’ll learn from those situations. We always go back, watch the film, and just diagnose what happened and what we could do to fix that.'

Plenty of fixins may be needed before Garoppolo is ready to be the week-in, week-out option, especially since he wasn’t able to get through his four-week audition healthy in 2016.

How much does this actually matter? Nobody thinks the sky is falling, but do any of the teams that tried trading for Garoppolo this offseason suddenly feel like they dodged a bullet? They shouldn’t, because they have as much game tape on Garoppolo today as they did three months ago. 

That and the fact that this is now Year 2 of fretting over Garoppolo’s play in situations that count. There were similar concerns last year, especially after he struggled — and got outperformed by then rookie Jacoby Brissett -- in the third preseason game against the Panthers. 

So all this leaves one to wonder what is the fluke: His brilliant six quarters of actual NFL football or his wholly unimpressive showings on the practice field and in exhibitions. One of those situations actually affects a team’s record and the other doesn’t. 

In some weird, twisted way, the us-against-the-world Patriots fans should take pride in this. The Patriots are so loaded this season that the biggest concern is how their backup quarterback -- whom they can seemingly exchange for a bevy of picks whenever they want -- doesn’t look as good when it doesn’t count as he does when it does count. 

Garoppolo looks bad in practice. That being the most negative thing about the Patriots right now means the 2017 season looks amazing for the Patriots. 

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Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both sat out of the entirety of Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady is dealing with an Achilles injury, per the injury report released by the Patriots. The Boston Herald has reported that Brady will play despite the issue. It's unclear when exactly Brady suffered the injury, but Brady was hit low by Raiders pass-rusher Khalil Mack in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and Mack was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Gronkowski, like teammate David Andrews, is dealing with an illness. Patrick Chung, who left Sunday's game briefly, has an ankle issue. 

Here's the full injury report for both the Patriots and Dolphins . . . 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
C David Andrews (illness)
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Marellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

MIAMI DOLPHINS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)
DE William Hayes (back)
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)

FULL PARTICIPATION
RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)

 

Curran: Randy Moss better not have to wait for Hall call

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Curran: Randy Moss better not have to wait for Hall call

If you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer. The notion that a great player’s candidacy has to have some kind of gestation period before it can be deemed induction-worthy is just plain cruel.

And if you think “cruel” is an overstatement, consider Ken Stabler. Three times a Hall of Fame finalist, Snake had to croak before Pro Football Hall of Fame voters decided it was time to put him in Canton.

There are borderline guys whose candidacies need to marinate. There are players whose contributions to an era take on greater meaning as time passes. You could make the case Stabler was one of those.

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You could also make the case that too many HOF voters in each of the major sports get caught up in a “guardian at the gate” mentality, puffing out birdlike chests until they align with swollen stomachs and declaring an athlete’s not getting inducted on HIS watch.

Or until said athlete’s served time in purgatory and either begs for induction or says, “F--- it, I don’t care if I get in at this point anyway.

Which brings me to Terrell Owens and how his HOF candidacy will impact Randy Moss.

Moss was a better player than T.O. Historic. The second he entered the league in 1998, he was probably one of the five best players in the league at any position. Owens took a while. He didn’t make a Pro Bowl until his fifth NFL season.

Moss was a technician and a savant. Owens just wrestled the game to the ground with brute force.

When measuring what a player “means” to the NFL and its fans, a reasonable Moss comp is Allen Iverson. They were iconic. Owens? Dwight Howard. Where T.O. felt needy, desperate and narcissistic. Moss just didn’t GAF.

And that’s where some voters start to rub their hands together and scheme.

How can we exact revenge for perceived crimes against football and propriety? Make 'em sweat. Use incidents, moments and comments as cudgels and pound penance out of them.

Even though Moss was better than T.O., that doesn’t mean Owens is borderline. Owens is second in all-time yards (Moss is third), eighth in receptions (Moss is 15th), third in touchdowns (Moss is second) and was a five-time All-Pro (Moss was a four-time All-Pro).

The only justification for voters keeping T.O. out the past two years was that he was a prick.

Few – if any - of his ex-teammates say that he should be kept out of the HOF for that. But scores of people in the media, ex-players and league lobbyists do think he should be kept out. At least until he learns his lesson, or whatever.

Owens’ narcissism chewed at the fabric of franchises he was a part of, is the contention. That’s why he played for five teams. That’s why he only played in one Super Bowl. That’s why tears weren’t shed when he signed someplace else.

Moss also played for five teams. He also played in just one Super Bowl (like Owens, Moss’ ’07 Patriots lost though Moss – like Owens – did his part to win). And tears weren’t shed too often when Moss left either.

Check this Tom Brady quote from September 2010. It came just days before Moss began shooting his way out of New England because he was unhappy the team wouldn’t extend his deal.

"There's only one Randy Moss that will ever play this game," Brady said. "He's the greatest, probably, downfield receiver in the history of the NFL. Those catches that he makes, where you guys see he runs 65 yards down the field, you throw it and he just runs and catches it. That's impossible to do.And I ask him, 'How did you do that?' And he says, 'I don't know, man. I've been doing it for a long time.' He has some special skills that nobody's really gifted with." 

That weekend, Moss gave his “This probably will be my last year here as a Patriot…” press conference after a season-opening win over the Bengals. The next week, he caught two of 10 passes that Brady threw his way in a loss to the Jets. One of the passes was a touchdown pass where he blew past Darrelle Revis and made a one-handed pull. Two of the other passes were picked off and Moss was non-competitive. After that, he was effectively frozen out of the offense and was traded after Week 4, less than a month after Brady accurately described him as the greatest downfield receiver in the history of the NFL.

Stuff like that, nudging a traffic cop for a half-block with his car stating “I’ll play when I want to play…,” fake-mooning the Lambeau Stadium crowd, saying he still smoked weed “once in a blue moon” – all those occasions will be aggregated and used as cudgels used to beat down Moss’ candidacy just as the driveway situps are used to beat down T.O.’s.

Whole bunch of voters will hand-wring about what it all meeeaaaannnnnsssss if they sweep Moss in on the first ballot after keeping T.O. out. And then wonder if T.O. should go in before Moss, after Moss or with him. Meanwhile, they’ll rush to get Ray Lewis in line for his gold jacket with nary a word about disappearing white suits 

The whole “between the lines is all that matters” defense.

Randy Moss belongs in the Hall of Fame. ASAP.