Patriots

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo praises Tom Brady's consistency, preparation

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo praises Tom Brady's consistency, preparation

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is no stranger to championship games, but his experience this weekend will be a little bit different.

Garoppolo has led the 49ers to Sunday's NFC Championship Game, where they'll play the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium with a spot in Super Bowl LIV at stake.

The 28-year-old spent a little more than two seasons with the New England Patriots as their backup QB after they drafted him in 2014. The Patriots went to the AFC Championship Game twice in that span, and even though veteran quarterback Tom Brady played all of the snaps in those games, Garoppolo was still able to observe a few things that have helped him with the 49ers.

"I tried to see things from afar," Garoppolo said at his Wednesday press conference. "Obviously, not being on the field, it's a little different. Just the preparation that goes into it, the atmosphere in the locker room, the atmosphere in the whole building, really. I felt it, very similar to [New England], I feel it here. I'm not trying to compare the two teams, but when you get into that playoff atmosphere and it's a championship game, things get amped up. And you have to do the same."

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Garoppolo also highlighted one aspect of Brady's preparation that's made a positive impact on him.

“I haven’t personally talked to him [in the build-up to the NFC title game], but things that I took away from watching him go through it and everything, just the consistency that he had throughout the entire run,” Garoppolo said. “Whatever it was, the first playoff game, the Super Bowl -- he was very consistent between all of it, and I think that just goes into your preparation throughout the week. If you are prepared going into the game, then you’re going to play like that.”

Garoppolo and the 49ers earned a berth to the NFC Championship Game with a 27-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round last weekend. If the 49ers win two more games, Garoppolo will not only earn his first Super Bowl ring as a starting quarterback, he'll move the 'Niners into a tie with the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for the most championships (six) in the Super Bowl era. 

LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

The New England Patriots don't fool around.

They are all about winning and will work harder than anyone else to make sure those objectives are met. These elite levels of dedication and preparation are among the reasons why the Patriots have enjoiyed an unprecedented run of success for the last 20 years that includes six Super Bowl championships.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

This worth ethic was not lost on LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan, who admitted to being "kinda scared" meeting with the Patriots at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Tight end is among the primary needs for the Patriots, and Sullivan is one of the top 10 players at the position in this draft class. 

Sullivan tallied 12 receptions for 130 yards in six games for the undefeated and national champion Tigers last season. He also impressed at the combine by running the third-fastest 40-time of all the tight ends. 

Sullivan's speed and size (6-foot-5 and 248 pounds) make him an intriguing target for teams in need of a tight end. He's likely to be drafted on Day 3, which is when rounds four through seven take place.

He's not the only tight end who the Patriots made an impression on this week. Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney revealed the Patriots said one of his answers in an interview with the team was a "loser's mentality."

Whether it's Sullivan, Pinkney or someone else, it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots select at least one tight end in April's draft. They need much better offensive production from their tight ends than what they received in the 2019 season.

Perry's Notebook: Brady's market taking shape despite CBA uncertainty

Report: Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on injured left ankle

Report: Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on injured left ankle

With only a couple of weeks until the NFL's free agent frenzy begins, the Patriots offense is dealing with even more uncertainty heading into the 2020 season.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on a high ankle sprain that has not healed properly this offseason.

Sanu suffered the injury on a punt return in Week 11 against the Eagles, and even though he was only sidelined for one game, the ankle severely limited his production down the stretch last season.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

After racking up 10 receptions (on 14 targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens in Week 10, Sanu only totaled 15 catches (on 33 targets) for 114 yards and no touchdowns over New England's final seven games, including a Wild Card loss to the Titans — not the type of production the Patriots were counting on when they sent a second-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for Sanu.

It remains to be seen if the uncertainty surrounding Sanu affects the team's offseason plans at wide receiver. Right now, only Sanu, Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, and Jakobi Meyers are under contract for the 2020 season, with Phillip Dorsett entering free agency and reportedly already attracting outside interest.

Sanu will earn $6.5 million in 2020, the final year of his contract.