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. 

Belichick the G.O.A.T.? He's got this ex-Steeler's vote

Belichick the G.O.A.T.? He's got this ex-Steeler's vote

A Pittsburgh Steelers great sticking up for Bill Belichick? When the argument is who's the greatest NFL coach of all time, sure.

Ex-Steelers Pro Bowl cornerback Ryan Clark, now an analyst for ESPN, says the Patriots coach has no peer, just as his quarterback, a fellow GOAT, said earlier this week. 

“There are things done in today’s football to create parity. Every team needs to have a chance. This is why the Super Bowl moves around now because they want every team to feel like they have an opportunity to host the Super Bowl and play in it at the same time,” Clark said on one of the network's debate shows. "Bill Belichick has totally destroyed that. Every single year when you come into the season, you think the Patriots are the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Every single time. It’s because he can adjust each and every week to be the best team on the field.

“Bill Belichick recreates himself every single Sunday.”

Watch the full clip here: 

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Patriots' first-round pick Isaiah Wynn out for season with torn Achilles

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Patriots' first-round pick Isaiah Wynn out for season with torn Achilles

There are loads of ways for an NFL team to stock its roster. Free agency, restricted free agency, undrafted free agents, trades, practice squad poaching. Gotta try ‘em all.  

So just because the NFL Draft is the most celebrated and extensively covered avenue, it doesn’t mean drafted players are inherently better. 

Which is good, because the Patriots have been getting kicked in the head by the top of the draft over the past few years. 

The latest instance? An Achilles tendon rupture suffered by first-round offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn Thursday night against the Eagles. Wynn, the 23rd overall pick out of Georgia, is done for the year. 

The Patriots had two first round picks this year and Wynn was kind of the “safe” draft pick. His Georgia teammate, Sony Michel, taken by the team with the 31st overall pick, was supposed to be the dice roll. Both Mike Mayock and Mike Lombardi -- Patriot friendlies -- reported in the days leading up to the draft that teams were concerned about Michel being “bone on bone” in his knee.

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Voila, Michel was there at 31. The Patriots drafted him -- despite the knee forecast -- because he’s really good and the team believes that the late-first and second-round picks are good times to spend selections on talented players that may have warning flags accompanying them. 

Michel has already had a procedure to have his knee drained and may not play in this preseason. 

Some might also mention here that second-round pick Duke Dawson missed Thursday night’s game with a hamstring and cite that as evidence that furthers the head-kicking the Pats have been taking. But that would be dumb because Dawson will be back soon and he’s performed really well in camp. As has fifth-round linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley. 

So it’s not like the Patriots go 0-for-April. They just have too many swings and misses on what should be fairly flat fastballs. 

Since 2012, the team has drafted 22 players in the first three rounds. 

Twelve are still with the team (Wynn, Michel, Dawson, Derek Rivers, Cyrus Jones, Joe Thuney, Vincent Valentine, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Duron Harmon, Donta Hightower). 

Of those, Hightower and Harmon are two that you would say have been vital players to the Patriots success. To a lesser degree, Thuney and Malcom Brown. 

Among the 10 who are gone, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan and Chandler Jones are ones who also had strong impacts. 

So that’s six out of 22. And only two of those impact guys remain. 

Unmitigated misses in the first three rounds would be Antonio Garcia (third-rounder in 2017), Dominique Easley (first-round, 2014) and Aaron Dobson (second round 2013). 

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Some guys did a little and aren’t here anymore (Jacoby Brissett, Tavon Wilson). 

More guys are still here, haven’t done diddly and don’t appear on the verge of being impact players  (Cyrus Jones, Valentine, Richards, Grissom). 

For whatever reason, the Patriots tend to kick ass later in the draft. Trey Flowers, Shaq Mason, Nate Ebner, Cam Fleming, James White, Joe Cardona, Elandon Roberts and Ted Karras have either fulfilled expectations based on their role and draft position or exceeded it (Mason, Flowers, Ebner and White in particular). 

But at the top they just can’t make the connection. And still they win. 

Why’s that? A lot of reasons. The main one being that -- in 2000 -- they got it right in the sixth round with the 199th pick. It certainly hasn’t been because of Adrian Klemm (second rounder, 2000). 

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