Belichick: All players must be ready, period

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Belichick: All players must be ready, period

As surprised as you might have been to see Tom Brady look to Shane Vereen for the first play of Sunday's game, Vereen could hardly believe it himself.
The running back didn't know he'd get in until right before kickoff.
No, not at all," he said of receiving fair warning. "They tell us to be ready and thats the one thing I try to do is just be ready when my numbers called."
It was called for the first three snaps of New England's first series. Vereen started with a 10-yard catch, followed it with a 14-yard run, and added another 1-yard run to that.
You get excited," said Vereen. "Anyway I get to help the team, I get excited to do that.
He hasn't had much of a chance.
Before Sunday, Vereen had just six yards total (one rushing, five receiving) to his name. He's played in only four of seven games for the Patriots this year because of a foot injury that lingered from the preseason finale into Week 3. When called to duty on Sunday he ran for 49 yards on eight carries in addition to the 10-yard catch that opened the game.
From 14 offensive snaps on the season to 17 in one night -- that's a decent leap. Head coach Bill Belichick knew Vereen would make it.
"Shane is a good athlete. He's worked hard. He's a smart kid and he had more opportunities yesterday than he's had since the preseason. Like everybody who played yesterday, there are some good things to build on, some things that could have been better, and we'll just keep going forward, keep trying to work on some things and build on them."
Vereen's ability to perform comes from a combination of things, like athleticism and the work put in at practice. Belichick said the coaches approach each player the same way in regard to preparation, no matter what his experience.
If you're put on that football field, you're as ready to go as the next guy. Efficiency is expected.
"It comes down to everybody on our team being ready to go. Period. Just ready to go," he said. "Preparing during the week, getting ready to do their job, then with however many -- whatever opportunities present themselves during the game -- being able to go out there and do it at a quality level. That's what every one of our players prepares for.
"Playing time is not something that a player controls; opportunity isn't something they control. They don't call the plays, they don't know what the defenses are going to be, so those opportunities aren't always 100-percent predictable. The most important thing is the players, every player, is mentally and physically prepared to do their job, to what adjustments have to be made before or after the snap, and go out there and do it."
Vereen can only hope doing that will translate to more opportunities.
He may finally be ready.

Felger: Sorry, Tom, but Jimmy G. and Brissett need to play Friday

Felger: Sorry, Tom, but Jimmy G. and Brissett need to play Friday

If there's any Patriots quarterback who should be getting meaningful time other than Jimmy Garoppolo on Friday in Carolina, it's not Tom Brady. It's Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett, obviously, will be the Patriots backup the first four games of the year, and the team has yet to go through the annual preseason exercise of subjecting him to the situation under which he's most likely to see time during the regular season. Typically, Bill Belichick will yank the starting QB out of the first half of an exhibition game unannounced and tell the backup to throw on his helmet and get out there. Brissett has yet to go through it, and you have to figure it's coming in the next two weeks.

Other than that, Garoppolo should see all the time while the starters are on the field. He's had little success going against the opposition's starters so far this month and needs every rep he can get. He needs to go through the routine of starting a prime-time game on the road, which will be the case Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Where does that leave Tom Brady? Stewing, probably. It's clear he wants to play. It's clear he wasn't happy missing last Thursday against Chicago and is pining for work Friday. If you were wondering how Brady would feel about losing time in training camp to Garoppolo as the Pats got ready for the regular season, you probably have your answer. He's not a fan.

There is a case to be made that the team and Belichick, in particular, owes Brady some love. Deflategate was dropped in Brady's lap from the start, and while the coach skated, the quarterback's sentence has finally become a reality. The Pats should want to make Brady happy. He deserves the respect.

But, ultimately, we ask the fallback Patriots question: What's best for the team? The answer isn't even close. Garoppolo deserves every snap, save for that potential emergency exercise with Brissett.

As for Brady's feelings? He'll get over it.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz week days, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. Watch the simulcast daily on CSN.

Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

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Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. - David Bingham had his sixth shutout of the season and the San Jose Earthquakes tied New England 0-0 on Wednesday night, extending the Revolution's winless streak to five games.

Bingham, who was tied for second in MLS soccer with 12 shutouts last season, had three saves - including a stop on Diego Fagundez's shot in the 86th minute.

The Revolution haven't scored since a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Aug. 9, a stretch of more than 270 minutes.

New England (6-11-8) had beaten San Jose three straight times.

San Jose (7-7-10) has just one loss in its last seven matches.