Garoppolo's only consistency so far? Inconsistency

Garoppolo's only consistency so far? Inconsistency

FOXBORO -- The moment the ball left Jimmy Garoppolo’s hand, he knew it was trouble. In fact, even before Nate Ebner made the interception in the back of the end zone, the Patriots backup quarterback was already bending at the waist, before putting his hands on his knees, disappointed in the errant throw. It was another one of those days for Garoppolo, who has been riding the roller coaster a little too often thus far in training camp.

Prior to the session, I asked Bill Belichick if the fourth-year pro had been consistent enough for the coach’s liking.

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“Well, I mean, it’s training camp,” said Belichick. “Look, I don’t think any of us are where we need to be. I mean, we’ve been basically at this for a week, so there are things we all can do better. We all need to do better, starting with me, the coaching staff, every player – experienced, inexperienced, whatever position they play. I mean, we’ve all got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I don’t think anybody’s even close to where they need to be.”

There was a chance for Belichick to dispute some -- if not all -- of what we’ve seen from Garoppolo to this point. He didn’t go that route. Prior to camp starting, Belichick had highlighted the 25-year old’s approach and performance.

“I think Jimmy is consistent day-to-day with his preparation, practice, training habits and so forth,” he said a little over a week ago. “You know what you’re going to get out of him pretty much every day that he walks into the building until he leaves.”

The only consistency this summer has been inconsistency from Garoppolo. Too many throws to the wrong hip or shoulder, or worse yet, to the wrong colored jersey. That not to say there haven’t been good days, or good stretches. On Wednesday, Garoppolo lofted a pretty pass deep down the left sidelines to a well-covered Chris Hogan. A few periods later, he delivered the perfect combination of velocity, touch and accuracy on a ball to undrafted rookie Austin Carr. But, with business this year “different,” as noted by Belichick, it seems fair to wonder if there is a little too much uncertainty surrounding Garoppolo this time around. This is he final year of his rookie deal and there’s the not so small matter of Tom Brady still looking like Tom Brady.

Bill?

“Well, I don’t think there’s uncertainty about the situation,” said Belichick. “I mean, look, it is what it is. I think he’s talked about it. It’s different than it was last year. Last year was last year. This year is this year. Again, that’s a good example of each year’s a little bit different for all of us in one way or another, no matter how much experience we have. I think he’s trying to make the most of his opportunities, trying to prepare and do the best that he can in the opportunities that he has, like every other player is. It’s different, but at that position, we all know that could change in five minutes. That’s like 2008. It can all change in a hurry. Actually, that’s true at every position, not just that position. It’s true at every position. When Lonie [Paxton] tore his ACL, that changed that in one play. That’s what having a good team is is everybody being ready to go and having depth and being able to handle whatever we have to handle.”

Garoppolo proved well equipped to handle all that was thrown his way once Brady’s suspension officially kicked in. This isn’t that, but it is another test for a player intent on one day being the franchise quarterback, here or somewhere else. 

Five takeaways from Patriots-Texans: Brady does Brady things in last-minute comeback

Five takeaways from Patriots-Texans: Brady does Brady things in last-minute comeback

FOXBORO -- Here are five quick-hitting takeaways from what transpired in the Patriots' last-second 36-33 victory over the Texans:

1) Tom Brady doing Tom Brady things . . . again. After the two-minute warning, Brady marched the Patriots 85 yards for the go-ahead score -- a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in the front corner of the end zone. A two-point conversion to Cooks made the score 36-33 with just 23 seconds remaining. On the drive, Brady was surgical, finding Rob Gronkowski for 15 yards, Cooks for 18, and Danny Amendola for 27. He was also strip-sacked on the drive, but David Andrews corraled it and Brady found Cooks for the score three plays later. 

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2) Brady says he doesn't often feel sore anymore, but Monday might be a different story. The Patriots quarterback was knocked around early and often by the Texans front, including on his first pass of the game. Despite a jarring hit from linebacker Bernardrick McKinney, Brady hit Cooks for a long gain down the right sideline. Brady was sacked five times (including three strip sacks) and hit on multiple other occasions. JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney and Christian Covington all got a piece of Brady at one point or another. The Texans pass-rush came in as advertised. When Brady did get some time, he found receivers down the field. Brady had six completions of 20 yards or more, including long touchdowns of 47 and 42 yards to Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks, respectively. He threw for four touchdowns in all, giving him 27 regular-season games with at least four touchdowns, third-most all-time behind Peyton Manning (35) and Drew Brees (31).

3) Rob Gronkowski looked just fine after last week's scare in New Orleans. One of the bright spots for New England's offense was that their All-Pro tight end had yet another strong performance despite dealing with a groin injury. He caught 8 passes for 89 yards, and several of those yards came after contact thanks to broken tackles. Gronkowski also boxed out safety Corey Moore for a touchdown at the goal line.

4) Deshaun Watson put his toughness on display throughout the course of the game. The rookie quarterback hit on throws despite taking hits from the Patriots on a consistent basis. He hit tight end Ryan Griffin on three passes -- two for key first downs and one for a touchdown in the third quarter -- despite absorbing contact as he threw or immediately after. He also pulled a Houdini act late in the fourth quarter to allude multiple Patriots defenders and hit running back D'Onta Foreman for a 34-yard gain. Watson's  accuracy is still an issue at times; he had Braxton Miller open on third down and plenty of time to throw with a little over seven minutes left in the game, but he missed him badly. Still, what Watson showed in terms of his toughness and athleticism was impressive.

5) Gilmore gets his first pick as a member of the Patriots, but it was an up-and-down day for the corner who's one of the 10 most highly-paid corners in the league. Gilmore gave away 34 yards on a pass-interference penalty in the first quarter that got the Texans into Patriots territory and helped lead to a field goal. Midway through the second quarter, Gilmore picked up another costly flag as he hit DeAndre Hopkins near the sideline and was hit with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call that helped lead to another Texans field goal. In the third quarter, Gilmore left the game briefly as he was dehydrated. 

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