Garoppolo: Strong preseason showing 'wasn't anything special'

Garoppolo: Strong preseason showing 'wasn't anything special'

FOXBORO - It must have been a relief.

Jimmy Garoppolo rolled to his right, completed a pass, and fell to the turf on his right shoulder. Then he got up.:

JAGUARS 31, PATRIOTS 24

The play, which occurred in the second quarter of the Patriots preseason opener against Jacksonville, was nearly identical to the one in Week 2 last season that ended what was supposed to be his four-game audition as a starter.

There was one important distinction between the two plays: No one drove Garoppolo into the Gillette Stadium surface the way Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso did about 11 months ago. Still, Garoppolo flashed back to that game and that moment as he picked himself up off the ground to face the Jaguars defense for another down Thursday night.

"I actually, as I popped up from it, we completed it and I actually thought about that," he said. "So, yeah, just kind of a confidence boost, but just making sure the shoulder’s all good. It felt good tonight."

It showed. He went 15-for-18 from that point on with two touchdowns, and he finished the game 22-for-28 for 235 yards and no interceptions.

He was accurate. He made good decisions. He ran a clean operation, particularly during a well-oiled two-minute drill to end the first half. And he bounced back from two big hits from Jags defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on New England's first two drives of the game.

"As a quarterback, you’re in the red jersey all practice, so getting that first hit out of the way – I know it sounds weird – but it’s a nice feeling," Garoppolo said. "Take the hit and bounce back from it. You know, I think the O-line did a great job. I messed up a couple times with them and hurt them, but overall, those guys did a real good job up front."

For the better part of the past two weeks, Garoppolo was less-than-stellar in Patriots training camp practice. He readily admitted it. He readily acknowledged that this has now been a trend for just about each of the past four summers.

He's not sure why.

"It’s not on purpose," he insisted Thursday. "I don’t know. I try to go out there and practice well every day with the guys. I mean, you’re trying different things in practice sometimes. You’re working with different guys. But, I don’t know. I don’t think there’s really a rhyme or reason to it. It’s football at the end of the day."

Garoppolo smiled as he spoke. He didn't seem like a player who needed a well-played preseason game to feel good about himself. After two weeks of at-times strange practice performances, two weeks of talking heads wondering what was up with his, he did not appear overly satisfied by what he'd done.

His night probably went about how he hoped it would. It sounded like it went about how he expected it would.

"We went out there and executed, really," he said of his second quarter. "I mean, it wasn’t anything special."

There was no relief in his voice, and in that way, he's been consistent. Even with alarm bells going off around him since camp began, he has never seemed concerned. Probably because he knows who he is, in the same way, his team does.

Cyrus Jones not concerned about criticism from 'fair-weather fans'

Cyrus Jones not concerned about criticism from 'fair-weather fans'

FOXBORO -- Cyrus Jones knows he's been criticized. He said on Tuesday that he doesn't care where the criticism is coming from so long as his coaches and teammates are happy with him.

"That's life," he said. "It is what it is. I know what I play the game for. I know who I play the game for. The people out there saying this and that, they're not important to me. They're not out there on the field, they're not my teammates. They're not my coaches. They're not my family. They really don't mean anything. They're fair weather fans. They're going to be with you when you're doing good, and as soon as you do something bad, they're on to the next. I've been dealing with that all my life . . .

"That goes far beyond football. You know who's in your corner. You know who's not. I don't really dwell on the people that really mean nothing to me. I don't know them and they don't know me. All they're doing is watching, spectating, criticizing. They're not Bill Belichick. They're not guys in this locker room. So those are the only people that matter when it comes to critiquing my play or whatever you want to call it."

MORE PATRIOTS

Jones returned four punts for 58 yards against the Texans on Saturday, including a 32-yarder and a 15-yarder that required him to elude multiple defenders early on. He also chose to field one punt deep in Patriots territory that resulted in a loss of three.

"That's one of those gray-area plays you just gotta use your instincts," he said. "It was a deeper punt than we anticipated . . . You just gotta use your better judgment. If it bounced and it's a dead ball right there, they still get the ball inside the 10. If I don't field it, it could bounce in the end zone. You really don't know. Just gotta judge it the best you can. The most important thing is possession."

Jones said that overall he felt like it was a positive outing. Though he has fielded kicks cleanly since the beginning of training camp -- an issue that plagued him during his rookie season -- he was in coverage for two long completions against the Jags in his team's preseason opener. Saturday against the Texans, Jones explained, was a good opportunity to build himself back up.

"It's better than negative stuff," he said. "Just using this preseason to kind of get my feet wet, get that comfort back there and gain confidence. I think that's what anybody's trying to do when they get on the field at this time . . .

"I got confidence in myself and my teammates have confidence in me, coaches got confidence in me. They know what I can do. It's just a matter of taking it day by day, focusing on the details and the little things, and going out there and getting it done and making it happen."

After Jones made his 32-yard return in Houston, he was mobbed by teammates and coach Joe Judge, picking up a player who'd experienced his share of down moments over the course of the last year.

"It just shows just how unselfish everybody is," he said. "Guys are more happy when somebody else makes a play than the person who made the play. That's just the culture of this team. Everybody wants to see each other succeed because that's only going to make the team better."

Jones insisted he's not worried about making the team when final cutdowns are made before Week 1. Under Belichick, the Patriots have never released a first or second-round pick going into his second season.

"I know what I can do, and I know what I can bring to this team," he said. 

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Quick Slants Podcast: Jerod Mayo reminisces about most talented roster he played on

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Quick Slants Podcast: Jerod Mayo reminisces about most talented roster he played on

Tom Curran and Phil Perry give their first impressions from Patriots preseason games. Jerod Mayo discusses the most talented roster he had with Patriots.

Here's a rundown of the episode.

3:00 Dont’a Hightower returning to Patriots off the PUP list, will he be ready to be ‘all systems go’ going forward.

6:20 Was the eclipse worth all the hype?

10:40 Should the Patriots poor offensive line performance against Houston worry fans?

15:50 What were our impressions of Cyrus Jones against Texans

19:00 impressions of Jimmy Garoppolo so far during preseason

20:00 Which players are in danger of being cut?

36:00 Jerod Mayo tells Tom E. Curran that he needs to meditate

38:30 Jerod weighs in on whether the hit on Odell Beckham was a ‘dirty hit’

42:30 Does Jerod think that the 2013 TJ Ward hit on Rob Gronkowski was a ‘dirty hit’

43:30 Should there be an etiquette for how physical preseason games should be in the NFL?

47:00 Jerod breaks down how Bill Belichick does a different technique that most NFL teams during the draft, and how it has paid off.

51:00 Who was the most talented roster the patriots had while Jerod Mayo was playing?

54:00 Will the NFL ever turn back into the ‘old style’ of football?