Belichick's Side of the Story

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Belichick's Side of the Story

Not that it's beyond Bill Belichick to stonewall the media, but it's not much of a surprise that he kicked off this afternoon's press conference by addressing what happened last night.

After all, the moment Belichick grabbed that official, we all knew that a fine was on the way. As a result, he knew that he'd have to answer a few questions. So, Belichick did what Belichick does he nipped it in the bud. He began today's meeting with a preemptive explanation. And you better believe that's the last time he'll talk about it.

So, what did you think of Belichick's take?

For one, I'd say it was one of his most candid rants in a while. He obviously knows that he made a big mistake, regardless of his intent. So, in the name of defending his honor, Belichick was forced to open up, turn on the charm and pretty much just act like a normal human being.

I especially enjoyed when he reminisced about Drew Bledsoe in Week 17 of the 2000 season: "In 2000, here in Foxboro, with Johnny Grier as the referee, Drew Bledsoe was trying to throw a pass at the end of the game against Miami, and the ball was ruled a fumble. The clock ran out. The game was over. And then, as I was walking off the field with Johnny at that time, I talked to him how this seems like an incomplete pass, there should be more time on the clock, we should have another play here. But no, that was the ruling, the game was over. We go back into the locker room, and 10 minutes or so later, Johnny comes back and says they're reviewing the play and we may have to go back out and finish the game. Five minutes after that, the players got dressed, we came back out for a final play in that game."

And you can't deny that his explanation makes a lot of sense. All he wanted was an explanation. But at that point, the refs were far more concerned with escaping the stadium alive than they were in breaking down the logistics of a last-second field goal; the logistics of which they probably could explain if they tried. Belichick deserved at least that much, and you can understand why he so desperately wanted the official's attention.

Of course, it doesn't matter. He touched the ref. He was wrong. He'll get fined and he deserves it. At which point, we can hopefully move on and pretend the whole thing never happened.

You know that Belichick will be happy to abide.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”