Running back Shane Vereen and punter Zoltan Mesko met with reporters after Sunday's training camp session. Here are the highlights from each huddle.
Q: It looks like the offense is working on screen passes. That fits well into your kind of game, right?
Shane Vereen: "I think it just fits into the offense. Weve got to be able to do multiple things as an offense and weve got to be able to do them well. In order to do it well youve got to practice it.
Q: What makes a screen pass effective?
SV: "Its effective because it puts defenses on their heels, but it also just opens another chapter of our offense.
Q: Do you enjoy the play?
SV: "I enjoy anytime the coaches can get the ball in my hands and anything I can do for the team.
Q: What are you hoping to accomplish during training camp?
SV: Im hoping to get better. There are a lot of areas where I need to improve personally and there are a lot of areas that Id like to get better at. Thats what Im trying to do this camp.
Q: Do you feel like guys are enjoying their time together right now?
Zoltan Mesko: Its good to struggle together and go through the ups and downs in camp. Thats the way teams get gelling. We hope to come together at the point when the season starts.
Q: Think you'll do a lot of fake punting this season?
ZM: Whatever the coaches tell me, Ill be very eager to do.
Q: Have you watched much of the Olympics?
ZM: Ill watch it at lunch time a little bit and a little bit at night on the tape replays. Its pretty cool to watch everything.
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
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)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)
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)
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.”
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.”