Patriots

Belichick on Garoppolo decision: 'I felt we rode it out as long as we could'

Belichick on Garoppolo decision: 'I felt we rode it out as long as we could'

In Bill Belichick's mind, this was the final option. 

The Patriots did all they could to try to figure out a way to keep Jimmy Garoppolo as their quarterback of the future. But when he and the team could not agree to an extension, the option that Belichick determined was best for the team was to make a trade. 

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Belichick made an opening statement during his conference call on Tuesday morning, during which he addressed the deal and alluded to the myriad factors involved.

"As his career moves forward," Belichick said of Garoppolo, "we have to look to our team, both this year and beyond, and that's a consideration we have to make. 

"We probably had, in my opinion, the best quarterback situation in the league the last, call it, two-and-a-half years. It's just not sustainable, given the way that things are set up. It's definitely not something we wanted to walk away from, and I felt we rode it out as long as we could. We, over a period of time, explored every option possible to try to sustain it, but just at this point felt like we had to make a decision."

Considering all the time and effort that was invested in trying to make it work, not to mention the work put into Garoppolo's development as a player, Belichick referenced multiple times that this was not a decision that was made lightly. The Patriots liked him for everything he brought them, both on and off the field. 

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy," Belichick said. "I couldn't ask for him to give us any more than he's given us. The 49ers are getting a good player, they're getting a good person, and they're getting a great teammate, and they're getting a good quarterback. And Jimmy's getting a good coach. His career is moving forward. He's a talented individual. He's a great person to coach. I met with him weekly, and again, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him."

The moving parts involved in a decision like this were countless, Belichick explained. He wouldn't get into them in any detail, but the obvious ones would be the amount of money that Garoppolo would need to be enticed to stay and the amount of playing time available in New England. Then there's Tom Brady, Brady's level of play, and Brady's longevity to consider. There's also the fact that Garoppolo's agent, Don Yee, also represents Brady.

The impact those factors had may vary, but suffice it to say, trading Garoppolo did not happen as the result of a quick discussion. 

"It's a very complex situation on multiple levels, and this is really the last window that we had, and we did what we felt was best for the team," Belichick said. "There were many things involved in this whole process, and again on a number of levels -- way too many to get into at this time. I'm definitely not going to get into any conversations that took place with the trade or with the player. But this is a decision involving Jimmy, and some form of decision that's been looming for the last couple of years."

Belichick added: "I'm sure a lot of you have questions that are fair, but again, to try to put the whole puzzle together and there's so many different points in time that would and could change the entire conversation that it's just too complicated a process and too unique to get into in depth. And so I'm not going to answer questions about the transaction and all the follow ups that would come with those, which are fair questions. It's just not possible."

Belichick did say that the Patriots would address the backup quarterback spot, but because there was nothing official on their next move, he declined to comment on the situation there. 

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.