With training camp now looming, here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories.
Belichick Texted Garoppolo After Each Win Last Season – Bill Belichick isn’t known for being a warm and fuzzy person, but it’s obvious that he clearly holds a high affinity for former Patriots back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
According to a feature story in Sports Illustrated by Jenny Vrentas (which follows a terrific feature by Bleacher Report), the two began what the magazine called “a sort of weekly ritual”, which saw Belichick text Garoppolo following each of his five victories with the 49ers, congratulating him on another win.
That shows a bit of a different side for Belichick, who isn’t one to show much praise but it’s clear that he’s rooting for him to do well. Garoppolo’s mother, Denise Garoppolo, told the publication that the Patriots coach really liked her son.
“Bill really, really liked Jimmy,” says Denise. “Not like they were warm and fuzzy—but they both knew it was there.”
Obviously standing in the way for Garoppolo to continue on in New England before the 49ers trade was Tom Brady, who despite his age simply continued to get better and made the prospect of Garoppolo being part of their future unrealistic.
It was a tough decision, with Garoppolo simply being a victim of bad timing with the Patriots. But he took it in stride, becoming a better player as he studied what it took to be the best under Brady and over that span. Meanwhile, Brady remained just as great, winning two Super Bowls over that same period. It worked out for the former quarterback, who has now ended up in a great situation in San Francisco and so far has put together five-straight wins to begin his career as a starter there.
It’s been an interesting road. Garoppolo’s dad, Tony, said that when he got to New England he was thrilled. Brady was a player Garoppolo idolized, with Vrentas spotting a Tweet by the 49ers QB that he put out just nine months before becoming a member of the Patriots where he wished Brady a happy birthday back in 2013.
— Jimmy Garoppolo (@JimmyG_10) August 3, 2013
His dad said it was competitive while he was here, but they each pushed each other and he’s thankful for how it played out.
“I think they had a competition amongst themselves, and Jimmy gave Tom a little push. But it’s not like Tom Brady is some average quarterback,” says Tony Garoppolo. “He wasn’t going anywhere. Jimmy knew that. At the same time, he took the opportunity to learn from [Brady]. Tom was a mentor to him. We couldn’t ask anything more.”
And so far, it’s fortunately working out just fine for him.
Major Turnover – If this year’s group of players looks significantly different when you see them on the field this preseason, there’s certainly good reason for it.
As we know, things have changed quite a bit when it comes to the more notable players. Gone are guys like Brandon Cooks and Danny Amendola on offense, while on defense the team is moving on from players such as Malcolm Butler and Alan Branch.
But MassLive.com’s Nick O’Malley pointed out in an entry on Tuesday that the team has actually turned over 41 players from last year’s roster heading into camp.
Additional notable names gone from the offense include Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Dion Lewis and Nate Solder, marking a significant change heading into this season. Seeing Garoppolo and Brissett play on different teams last season make it feel like they’re farther removed, but it’s a reminder of how much things can change in just one year’s time.
Now with Training Camp on the horizon, the question will be how this group will look in the coming months and how they’ll come together as they try and put together another championship run this season.
Bielema’s Status Now Known – One of the stories this offseason has surrounded former Arkansas coach Brett Bielema’s status with the team, with Bielema having been spotted attending workouts with the club over the last few months. and it appears we know have a better sense of his role.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Bielema is joining the Patriots as a “consultant to the head coach” this season.
Reiss reports that during spring practices Bielema spent time working with the special-teams units and also notes that he coached impact players like James White, Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise Jr during his career, each of which have become key contributors on this football team.
The former coach was fired by Arkansas back in November after five seasons, amassing a 29-34 record during his tenure and will now have a great opportunity for a new start under Belichick here in New England.
Gronk Goes Shark Diving – Rob Gronkowski was one of a few celebrities featured on a special on Discovery Network for their Shark Week segment and as expected, it was entertaining.
The tight end was one of several athletes that included Lindsey Vonn and Aaron Rodgers featured this week.
Gronk hit the Bahamas and was part of a team that tagged sharks, with Gronk tagging a tiger shark. The tight end got to feel the force of what an animal like that holds first hand as the team marked one and following his deep sea dive where he got to see them up close, he admitted it was pretty intense experience.
But the best way to break the tension? He returned to the boat and did a shark dance.
Gronk went diving in the Bahamas and hit the "Shark Dance." pic.twitter.com/FK3dUKpUEg
— ESPN (@espn) July 20, 2018
Only Gronk…gotta love him.
Odds and Ends – The Patriots announced a couple of moves on Tuesday, with the team releasing receiver Cody Hollister while adding free agent offensive lineman Nate Theaker and free agent safety Eddie Pleasant as they continue rounding out the bottom of their 90-man roster heading into camp … Darrelle Revis reflected on his career during his retirement press conference, including who he felt was his toughest foe. “I would probably say Randy Moss,” Revis told NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones on Tuesday. “He’s probably the toughest one.” The two had some tough battles while Moss was a member of the Patriots, but when Revis switched sides, oddly enough, it was the former Jets CB who came away with a championship as the Patriots won their first championship in a decade that season … Another player watching his diet is Patriots defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, who in an interview with WHDH 7 admitted he hasn’t had any ice cream since January. “The last time I had a bite of ice cream it was Haagen-Dazs rum raisin – AFC Championship,” he said. “I went in the freezer, got a spoonful, ate it and I was like this is amazing and put it back in the freezer for the next time.” Hopefully the Patriots find success so he can have another bite next January … With players set to report Wednesday, Marquis Flowers recently said he’s looking forward to getting started, saying this is the time of year where you to try and have a little fun, but he knows the work they put in now will pay off during the season. “It’s a grind but you gotta enjoy it,” linebacker Marquis Flowers said. “You gotta enjoy the good and the bad. You can’t just be saying things are fun just when things are going well. What we do in training camp is what’s gonna makes us have fun, that’s win games.”
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