2011 Patriots vs. 2012 Patriots


2011 Patriots vs. 2012 Patriots

No, the two teams aren't going to play each other . . . but if they did, Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti like the 2012 team's chances.

Mazz loved the balanced attack he saw out of the Pats in Week 1, unlike last year's team who was strictly a pass-first offense and not much more.

Check out what else he had to say.

Postcard from Camp Day 15: Rivers leaves practice with apparent leg injury


Postcard from Camp Day 15: Rivers leaves practice with apparent leg injury

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia -- The Patriots and Texans finished up a physical practice at the Greenbrier on Wednesday afternoon, their final joint session before Saturday's preseason game in Houston. 

The Patriots took another hit at the defensive end position as Derek Rivers left the practice a little over an hour into the practice following a kick coverage drill. Patriots trainer Jim Whalen appeared to be checking on Rivers' left knee. Rivers got off the turf and walked into the Greenbrier Sports Performance Center with team staffers. He did not return. 

Here are some of the other news and notes we picked up from Wednesday's workout . . . 


* LaAdrian Waddle and LeShun Daniels, both of whom failed to finish Tuesday's practice, joined the list of Patriots absentees from Tuesday: Nate Solder, Tony Garcia, Matthew Slater, Brandon King, Keionta Davis, Deatrich Wise, Dont'a Hightower (PUP), Andrew Jelks (NFI), Shea McClellin, Matt Lengel and Mike Gillislee. 



* About 15 minutes after Rivers' injury, Kony Ealy was rolling around on the ground, reaching for his shoulder. He returned at 11:50 and had a handful of effective pass-rush snaps during a hurry-up period coming off the right edge. He said after practice he feels as though he's heading in the right direction and building some positive momentum. 

* With LaAdrian Waddle out -- joining Nate Solder and Tony Garcia as injured left-tackle options -- Cameron Fleming took all of the reps with the top group on Tom Brady's blind side. Fleming was beaten by Whitney Mercilus for a pair of sacks in team drills and he lost to Mercilus in their lone 1-on-1 rep against one another. At one point, the Patriots placed Dion Lewis just off of Fleming's hip to chip Mercilus, and Mercilus ran over Lewis. Fleming did get the better of Mercilus at the end of practice, putting Mercilus on the ground and helping to give Brady enough time to find James White for a touchdown to finish off a hurry-up period.

* The Patriots came onto the field with a defense that seemed to be a healthy mix of regulars and reserves. Jordan Richards and Duron Harmon were the safeties. Derek Rivers was at one end with Harvey Langi on the other. Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore were at the corner spots. On the next series, Patrick Chung came onto the field as did Devin McCourty. Trevor Bates and Jonathan Freeny handled the edges while David Harris manned the middle. 

* Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola and Cyrus Jones were the returners during what was a significantly more physical set of special-teams periods.

* After sitting out most of Tuesday's practice, Stephon Gilmore was out there in 11-on-11 work. Eric Rowe saw time in the slot with Malcolm Butler and Gilmore on the outside and handled himself well.

* James O'Shaughnessy made what was perhaps the play of the day, plucking a Tom Brady pass off of the helmet of Bernardrick McKinney. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was as excited by that play as he's been all camp. O'Shaughnessy has missed significant practice time due to injury but was a full participant on Tuesday, seeing passes in fully-padded 11-on-11 work for the first time in a long time. He caught all four balls (three from Garoppolo) thrown his way. 

* Harris had some difficulty keeping up with Texans backs in coverage, allowing Texans quarterbacks to complete all five passes that were sent in his direction. 

* After a quiet practice on Tuesday, Brandin Cooks caught five of eight passes from Brady, including a long touchdown on a post route with Texans corner Kevin Johnson in coverage. Cooks did have one drop. 



Cannon beat Watt

Mercilus beat Fleming

Thuney beat Dunn

McDermott beat Scarlett

Hatley beat Karras

Ferentz beat Ankou

Pratt beat Cannon on speed to power

Andrews beat Hatley

Ankou beat King

Fleming got the edge on Lee

McDermott got the best of Tony Washington

Mercilus breezed past Croston


11-ON-11 NOTES


* Rivers sacks Savage. Patriots sideline into it. 

* Miller run. 

* Miller run. 

* Savage incomplete to Ellington. Gilmore in coverage. PI on Gilmore. 


* Watson complete to Stephen Anderson. 

* Foreman run. 

* Watson run. Ealy pressured him out of the pocket. 

* Foreman run. Ealy blown out of the play. 


* Savage complete to Blue with Harris in coverage. 



* Burkhead run. 

* Burkhead run. 

* Brady complete to Edelman. 

* Lewis run. 

* Brady sacked by Mercilus working on Fleming. 

* Brady complete to Hogan. Mercilus hammers Lewis, who was chipping to help Fleming. 


* Bolden run. 

* Garoppolo complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

* Bolden run. 



* Savage complete to Prosch. 

* Miller run. Edge set by Van Noy. 

* Savage incomplete to Ellington with Rowe in coverage. Ellington drop.

* Punt. Cyrus Jones returns. Double-caught it. 


* Savage hands to Miller. 

* Savage would have been sacked by Harris. Brown blows up screen.


* Watson incomplete to Blue over the middle. 

* Foreman run. Stuffed by Branch. 

* Watson complete to Griffin with Ebner in coverage. Ball bobbled.

* Watson incomplete over the middle. Ealy hurt.



* Brady complete to Cooks.

* Brady incomplete to Cooks. Cooks drop. 

* Brady complete to Cooks on the sideline. Perfect throw and catch.

* Punt.  


* Lewis run.

* Brady complete to Hogan. 

* Brady complete to White on screen. 


* Lewis run. 

* Garoppolo complete to Lewis. 

* Garoppolo complete to Gronkowski. 

* Allen shanks a punt. 



* Adam Butler sack. 

* Miller run. 

* Savage complete to Ellington. Rowe gets to him before any gain. 

* Punt.


* Savage incmoplete over the middle. Bates there in coverage. Well played.

* Savage complete to Anderson with Richards in coverage. 


* Watson complete to Strong over the middle. Van Noy flushes him from pocket.

* Punt. 

* Watson sacked by Bates. 

* Watson complete to Anderson. 

* Watson incomplete to Allen. Allen drop. Well-placed pass. 



* Brady complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

* Bolden run. 

* Brady complete to Edelman. 

* Punt. 


* Brady sacked by Mercilus, who was working on Fleming. 

* Bolden run. 

* Brady incomplete for Amendola. Cunningham PBU. 


* Garoppolo complete to Allen on roll-out. 

* Bolden run. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. PBU Moore. Nearly picked. 

* Punt.



* Miller run. Ealy's back. 

* Blue run. Guy there to make the stop. 

* Blue run. 

* Savage complete to Foreman. Roberts in coverage, looked like he missed an assignment. 

* Roberts strips Ervin, Rowe recovers for score.


* Watson incomplete. Langi pressure. 

* Watson complete to Griffin. Harmon there in coverage, but was boxed out.

* Foreman run. Patriots emphasizing strips all practice. Got him on a late one.

* Watson complete to Ervin with Harris in coverage. Eludes Butler pressure.



* Brady complete to Cooks on post for a touchdown. Beat Kevin Johnson.

* Burkhead run. 

* Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Gilchrist PBU. Brady grabs his helmet in shame.

* Brady complete to Burkhead. 

* Burkhead run. 

* Mercilus offsides.

* White run. 


* Burkhead run. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Carr. 

* Garoppolo sacked by Kamalu. Pass incomplete to Carr. 



* Savage complete to Griffin with Chung in coverage. 

* Savage complete to Miller with Harris in coverage. 

* Savage incomplete for Griffin with Chung in coverage. 

* Savage complete to Miller with Harris in coverage.

* Savage incomplete to Griffin with McCourty in coverage. 

* Savage complete to Strong for a touchdown with Butler in coverage. Butler stumbled as the pass approached. 



* Brady incomplete for Edelman. 

* Brady complete to Hogan on a post for a touchdown. Cunningham beat in coverage. Watt got a lot of attention. Cannon, Mason, Andrews all got a shot in. 

* Brady complete to Cooks. 

* Brady incomplete out of the back of the end zone. 

* Brady complete to White for a touchdown. Fleming put Mercilus on the ground. After the play Edelman got mixed up with Gilchrist and Hal. Lots of chatter.



* Watson complete to Hardee. 

* Watson incomplete to McCarron. Perfect pass. Jonathan Jones PBU. 

* Watson sacked by Ealy off the right side. 

* Watson incomplete to Williams. Ealy pressure. 

* Watson incomplete on Hail Mary. Coleman PBU. Ealy good effort. 



* Garoppolo complete to Carr. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Carr. Overthrown. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Amendola. Amendola drop. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Carr. Overthrown. 


* Brissett finished his run at the end of practice 3-for-7. 




* Savage complete to Ervin with Rowe in coverage.

* Savage incomplete to Anderson. Butler PBU. 

* Savage complete to Ervin with Harris in coverage. 


* Watson complete to Griffin with Ebner in coverage.

* Watson complete to Jaelen Strong in the back corner of the end zone on Cyrus Jones. Perfectly-thrown pass. 

* Coverage sack. Play blown dead.


* Weeden complete to Anderson. 

* Weeden tuck and run. 

* Weeden complete to Anderson with J. Jones in coverage. 



* Brady incomplete to Cooks out of the end zone. Overthrown. 

* Brady incomplete to Cooks. Joseph PBU. 

* Brady incomplete to Edelman. Edelman drop. 

* Brady complete to Cooks over the middle. 

* Brady incomplete to Burkhead. Pass broken up. 


* Garoppolo complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. Roberson PBU. 

* Garoppolo complete to O'Shaughnessy. 

Patriots should have drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the first round


Patriots should have drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the first round

It goes without saying that if the Patriots knew Tom Brady was going to be Tom Brady, they wouldn’t have waited until the sixth round to take him. They’d have taken him in the first round. 

Here’s the thing, though: Not taking Brady in the first round never hurt the Patriots. It actually might in the case of Jimmy Garoppolo. 


The Patriots should have drafted Garoppolo in the first round. Seriously. 

Of course this is being said in hindsight, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. If the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in the first round rather than the second in 2014, they’d be paying him a bit more but they'd also have him for an extra year on his rookie deal thanks to the fifth-year option that exists for first-round picks. With Brady not yet done and potential years of franchising ahead, that extra season of Garoppolo’s rookie deal could prove to be crucial. 

First, a look back at the 2014 draft. As you may recall, Garoppolo’s selection in the second round turned heads. Them taking him a round earlier (which would have put his selection before Teddy Bridgewater’s) might have made those very same heads explode. 

That would have been the right move, however, especially when you consider what they did with that first-round pick. The Pats took Dominique Easley 29th overall, a player they put on IR in back-to-back seasons before releasing. He enjoyed a bounceback campaign with the Rams last season, but his 2017 season is already over after tearing his ACL in training camp. 

So say the Pats didn’t take Easley and instead chose to shock the world and take Garoppolo. Here’s where they’d stand: They’d have paid Garoppolo more by now (Bridgewater, taken three picks after where the Pats picked in the first, got a four-year $6,849,502 contract, whereas Garoppolo got $3,483,898 over four years), but they would not yet be facing the question of what’s next. 

Garoppolo will be a free agent at season’s end, at which point the Patriots might need to franchise him or use the transition tag to retain his services. Had they taken him in the first round and exercised the fifth-year option, they wouldn’t need to worry about the franchise tag until the 2019 season, at which point Brady would be 42. That’s a much easier pill to swallow for one year if they’re seriously entertaining making a switch to Garoppolo the year after in 2020. 

So what would that fifth-year option cost? For first-round picks taken outside of the top 10, the salary is calculated by averaging the third through 25th-highest salaries at the player’s position in the fourth year of the deal. My math has it at $10,419,705.70; CBS Sports (which has a chart and is therefore likely way more correct) has it at $12,198,000.

That isn’t chump change, but it is compared to having to pay for the franchise tag. This season, the franchise tag for a quarterback is $21.268 million. That number will only be higher a year later. 

The Patriots seemingly indicated by not trading Garoppolo this offseason that they believe in him. It was a bold stance to take when they seemingly could have gotten a haul of draft picks. If the Pats had taken as bold a stance on draft back a few years back, perhaps their future at quarterback would be just a tad less murky.