FOXBORO -- Tom Brady missed two practices last week and was limited for one other, leaving Jimmy Garoppolo to pick up the slack at quarterback. There was no one else.
With no other passers on the active roster or the 10-man practice squad -- they released Taylor Heinicke from the p-squad earlier this month -- Garoppolo garnered reps as both the starter and the scout-team quarterback with Brady out. His efforts to make the most of those extra snaps earned Garoppolo some recognition from the Patriots as one of the team's practice players of the week last week.
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Others named practice players of the week were offensive lineman Ted Karras, practice-squad defensive backs Damarius Travis and David Jones, and practice squad defensive lineman Angelo Blackson.
Players can earn the player-of-the-week honor for any number of reasons. They may have been given the assignment of mimicking a key player from that week's opponent. They may have gone above and beyond in some fashion in order to make their on-the-field work stand out. Or, as was seemingly the case with Garoppolo, they may have seen their workload increase and managed it well.
Last week's practices may have also served a purpose beyond preparing the team for the Jets. It would have given the Patriots staff yet another extended look at Garoppolo and how he handles the offense when it's his to run. They obviously know him well, but any opportunity to see him as the guy may in some small way re-affirm their feelings on his ability to one day serve as the franchise's next starter.
Whether it plays out that way or not is a separate story. But judging by the coaching staff's decision to award him in some small way for his work, the volume of snaps Garoppolo saw last week didn't go unappreciated.
The Patriots improve their record to 4-2 with a win over the Jets, but there are still a lot of concerning factors for New England. Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen talk about something the team isn't used to - close games.
Giardi also dives into whether there is a major problem with the locker room dynamic, and whether all the moves they made in the offseason were blown way out of proportion by the media and fans of the talent added, but didn't factor in the personalities they lost.
Koppen and Giardi also look at how the offensive line play has fallen off, despite the same personnel as last year. Finally, discussing the late scratch of Stephon Gilmore due to a concussion. Anything to read into the timing?