Patriots

Ten most important Pats heading into 2015: Jimmy Garoppolo

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Ten most important Pats heading into 2015: Jimmy Garoppolo

Leading up to the first day of training camp, we’re going to look at the most important Patriots, counting down from 10 to 1. Yesterday, Chandler Jones got us started at No. 10. Today (dramatic pause . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . wait . . . )

9. JIMMY GAROPPOLO

Why? Because it’s quite possible Jimmy G will play an important role for the Pats, and not as the scout team quarterback (for which he got rave reviews a season ago). With Tom Brady currently facing a four-game suspension, and the uncertainty that surrounds the appeal and a possible trip to federal court, the Pats will have to get the second-year pro ready for more than a cameo. The Patriots' schedule in the first four weeks: Pittsburgh, at Buffalo, Jacksonville and at Dallas. That’s no walk in the park. The Pats can’t afford a sluggish start, which means Garoppolo is going to have do more than manage a game. He’s going to have to make winning plays.

Previous Performance: We got multiple regular-season looks at Garoppolo in his rookie year: A fourth-quarter effort against Kansas City in that one-sided Chiefs rout (6-of-7, 70 yards, 1 TD), a 3-for-3 outing for 22 yards against the Bears (Pats won, 51-23) and then a start in the meaningless regular-season finale at home versus the Bills. It was a mix of good and bad, where Garoppolo showed playmaking ability but also a tendency to hold the ball too long.

Questions surrounding the player: Experience, clearly, although Bill Belichick made sure Garoppolo got more snaps than previous Brady backup Ryan Mallett ever did. Also, it's a big leap from Eastern Illinois to the NFL. Yes, having a full year in the system helps, but now teams will game plan to take away what you do best. Can JG make the necessary adjustments? Finally, how will Garoppolo handle the constant questions when camp starts, and Brady’s situation drags on? This is far from an ideal situation, except for a coaching staff well-versed on ignoring the noise.

Overall Outlook: Josh McDaniels is a big fan of Garoppolo. Devin McCourty told us last year, somewhat wide-eyed, that Garoppolo is already really good. That’s been echoed by plenty of the skill position players. Now’s his chance to show it, and while I do believe they’ll be some rocky moments (nothing looks like Brady running this offense), the kid is confident and I don’t see the Pats emerging from that potential four-game stretch with anything less than two wins. I’d say three, but there's the matter of the Pats' revamped secondary going into Dallas . . . 

Did Tom Brady fire back at 'dad bod' comments via Twitter?

Did Tom Brady fire back at 'dad bod' comments via Twitter?

Was Tom Brady, via his TB12 center Twitter account, firing back at those who took shots at his "dad bod" as seen in recent paparazzi photos?

Check out the pinned tweet at the top of TB12's Twitter 

It's no doubt in response to what GQ called "#TorsoGate"

He's come a long way from the 2000 NFL combine before he was made the 199th pick overall:

Brady's TB12 Method famously touts pliability, eschews weight training and promotes what some see as an untraditional diet for an elite athlete - remember him eating a strawberry with Stephen Colbert this past winter?

The soon-to-be-41-year-old (Aug. 3) Patriots quarterback will apparently have an early start on getting into football shape. He plans to be at training camp ahead of Wednesday's veteran reporting date. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Edelman won't take four-game PED suspension to court

Edelman won't take four-game PED suspension to court

We won't be following this four-game suspension through the federal court system the way we did another one.

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is not going to pursue an appeal of his four-game PED suspension in court and will sit out the first four games of the regular season.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network was first to report that Edelman wouldn't be going to court to appeal.

Edelman's teammate, Tom Brady famously took the appeal of his Deflategate four-game suspension through various federal court hearings before dropping the case before the 2016 season.

Edelman, 32, who missed all of last season recovering from ACL surgery, can participate in training camp and preseason games but will miss regular season games at home vs. the Texans Sept. 9, at the Jaguars Sept. 16, at the Lions Sept. 23 and at home vs. the Dolphins Sept. 30. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE