Patriots

Garoppolo's only consistency so far? Inconsistency

Garoppolo's only consistency so far? Inconsistency

FOXBORO -- The moment the ball left Jimmy Garoppolo’s hand, he knew it was trouble. In fact, even before Nate Ebner made the interception in the back of the end zone, the Patriots backup quarterback was already bending at the waist, before putting his hands on his knees, disappointed in the errant throw. It was another one of those days for Garoppolo, who has been riding the roller coaster a little too often thus far in training camp.

Prior to the session, I asked Bill Belichick if the fourth-year pro had been consistent enough for the coach’s liking.

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“Well, I mean, it’s training camp,” said Belichick. “Look, I don’t think any of us are where we need to be. I mean, we’ve been basically at this for a week, so there are things we all can do better. We all need to do better, starting with me, the coaching staff, every player – experienced, inexperienced, whatever position they play. I mean, we’ve all got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I don’t think anybody’s even close to where they need to be.”

There was a chance for Belichick to dispute some -- if not all -- of what we’ve seen from Garoppolo to this point. He didn’t go that route. Prior to camp starting, Belichick had highlighted the 25-year old’s approach and performance.

“I think Jimmy is consistent day-to-day with his preparation, practice, training habits and so forth,” he said a little over a week ago. “You know what you’re going to get out of him pretty much every day that he walks into the building until he leaves.”

The only consistency this summer has been inconsistency from Garoppolo. Too many throws to the wrong hip or shoulder, or worse yet, to the wrong colored jersey. That not to say there haven’t been good days, or good stretches. On Wednesday, Garoppolo lofted a pretty pass deep down the left sidelines to a well-covered Chris Hogan. A few periods later, he delivered the perfect combination of velocity, touch and accuracy on a ball to undrafted rookie Austin Carr. But, with business this year “different,” as noted by Belichick, it seems fair to wonder if there is a little too much uncertainty surrounding Garoppolo this time around. This is he final year of his rookie deal and there’s the not so small matter of Tom Brady still looking like Tom Brady.

Bill?

“Well, I don’t think there’s uncertainty about the situation,” said Belichick. “I mean, look, it is what it is. I think he’s talked about it. It’s different than it was last year. Last year was last year. This year is this year. Again, that’s a good example of each year’s a little bit different for all of us in one way or another, no matter how much experience we have. I think he’s trying to make the most of his opportunities, trying to prepare and do the best that he can in the opportunities that he has, like every other player is. It’s different, but at that position, we all know that could change in five minutes. That’s like 2008. It can all change in a hurry. Actually, that’s true at every position, not just that position. It’s true at every position. When Lonie [Paxton] tore his ACL, that changed that in one play. That’s what having a good team is is everybody being ready to go and having depth and being able to handle whatever we have to handle.”

Garoppolo proved well equipped to handle all that was thrown his way once Brady’s suspension officially kicked in. This isn’t that, but it is another test for a player intent on one day being the franchise quarterback, here or somewhere else. 

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

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Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.

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“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."