- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick detailed his thinking for giving rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo the start in the preseason finale Thursday against the New York Giants.
"It's just an experience that he needs to go through -- to feel like he’s going to start the game [and] he’s going to be in the game for every situation -- second down, third down, goal-line, red area, two-minute, whatever it is, he has to be prepared for everything and handle whatever it is that comes up,“ Belichick said Monday during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI in Boston.
“This is also a week that he’ll have to deal with the media, deal with the production meeting before the game, I’m sure the fans will have plenty of insults for him when he walks out on the field. It’s an away game. It’s all the things that a quarterback eventually will do as a starting quarterback. Whenever that happens, I have no idea, but whenever it does happen, at least he will have done it once before. I think there is something to be learned here. Ryan [Mallett] has been here three-and-a-half years and Tom’s done it a couple hundred times. This is an opportunity for Jimmy to get that experience and I’m sure he’ll learn from it.”
A few other notable soundbites from Belichick:
One of the best days of practice. It was a hot, humid practice for the Patriots and Belichick was pleased with what he saw. "I thought the guys really worked hard. I thought this was probably one of our better practices of the whole camp," he said. "Give them a lot of credit -- they knew what it was going to be and they pushed through it."
Cutting veterans early to give them a chance to catch on. Asked about the timing of releasing veterans Tommy Kelly, Will Smith and James Anderson, Belichick said, "I think that does help them a little bit from that standpoint. Some of those players probably wouldn't have had a big role in this game anyway and we wanted to make sure we got a look at some of the younger players that we do want to see that maybe have played a little bit less."
Following up on green-dot communication. Belichick touched on how Jamie Collins, Steve Beauharnais and James Morris handled the responsibilities of leading the huddle and being the primary communicators with the green got on their helmets in Friday's game, which included making on-field adjustments. Belichick called their work in that area "pretty solid" before adding, "I thought Jamie Collins really did a good job of taking over part of that role in terms of handling the defense from the inside, the linebacker position, not only playing well but helping the people around him play aggressively and make sure they were in the right position."
LaFell has made a positive impression. Belichick seems to like what five-year Brandon LaFell has brought to the team, saying, "He's really picked things up well in this training camp and he's done an excellent job, all the way around, both in the passing game, the running game as a blocker [and] the kicking game -- he had a couple big blocks on the returns last week that Julian [Edelman] had. So he's shown up and helped us in a number of areas."