NEWSWIRE: Garoppolo Trying to Keep Up

Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo learning the ropes slowly.

Garoppolo Not Accustomed to NFL (NESN)

On the cusp of Thursday night’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins, rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spilled a little-known fact after practice on Wednesday, he’s never in fact seen a professional game live.

“I’ve never actually been to an NFL game before, so this will technically be my first one, I guess,” Garoppolo told Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe.

The Eastern Illinois quarterback didn't get accustomed to the crowds of massive university stadiums during his collegiate career, however, he mentioned that he won’t be letting nerves be a factor.

“It’s still football. A football field is 100 yards long, 53 yards [wide]. Same old, same old,” said Garoppolo. “You’ve just got to go out and do it now.”

The rookie will see some playing time this preseason, along with New England’s other quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ryan Mallet, but will need to demonstrate skill after struggling during training camp.

Camp Brings a Battle of Long Snappers (Providence Journal)

Three year long snapper Danny Aiken is facing competition from rookie snapper Tyler Ott for a roster spot this year. After a falter during last year’s playoff game against the Colts, Aiken’s spot isn't a guarantee.

Undrafted free agent Ott was signed by New England during the offseason, making the pair battle for one open spot at snapper.

“I feel confident. Danny, I’m sure feels the same way,” Ott declared. “We’re trying to get better and we’re making each other better.”

Aiken, a product out of Virginia, started four seasons as a long snapper during his college career. In 2011, he signed with the Bills but was cut before the start of the season where the Patriots soon picked him up.

While Aiken fell into the position in college, Ott knew he wanted to spot in middle school. Playing both the role of a long snapper and tight end for Harvard, Ott did well in both roles in college, catching four touchdowns, 15 passes and 188 yards his final season with the team.

“It’s a lot of mental stuff involved. You’ve got the [punter’s protector] making calls, but you’re expected to make the same calls,” Ott explained. “You’ve got to be smart regardless of any position in the NFL.”

Joint Practices Bring Out Brady’s Best (Boston Globe)

Well known for his competitive spirit during training camp, Tom Brady continued to shine during this week’s practices alongside the Washington Redskins.

Tuesday’s session brought 11-on-11 drills with Brady successfully finding receivers Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman before leaving the field for a field goal attempt by kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

“I think it’s always challenging out there. I don’t think we have everything figured,” Brady told reporters after camp. “They have a great pass russ, which really doesn't come into play in this team drills that we’re doing. I have to drop back and find the open guy and get rid of the ball quickly because it’s usually not very good things happening when I’m holding the ball.”

Joint practices had plenty of spectators including Washington coach Jay Gruden who marveled at Brady’s performance.

“It was good, efficient. It was fun to watch,” said Gruden. He does a good job and he’s very quick with his calls, and their communication is on point.”

Former Patriot TE Jake Ballard Retires (

One-time Patriot Jake Ballard announced his retirement from the league after four seasons. An undrafted free agent out of Ohio State, Ballard was picked up by the Giants in 2010 where he went on to the Superbowl with the team the next season.

In 2011, he recorded four touchdowns and 38 passes for 604 yards with New York. The tight end was picked up by New England the next season, however, was unable to play due to a knee injury. After starting three games for the Cardinals last season, Ballard has been unable to fully recover from his injury, ultimately making the decision to leave the NFL.

Brady Excited for the Addition on LaFell (ProFootballTalk)

Quarterback Tom Brady is happy to have the newest addition to his pick of wide receivers. After an impressive day of training camp on Tuesday, Brady gushed about receiver Brandon LaFell to reporters after the day’s camp.

“He keeps making more plays. He’s understanding better and better. He’s a veteran,” Brady to CSSNE. “He’s savvy, knows how to run the routes, big body, big frame, makes a lot of tough catches..I’ve got some of the little pygmies out there like Julian [Edelman] and Danny [Amendola] and it’s nice to have a little bigger guy out there from time to time who has a bigger catch radius. Hopefully Danny and Julian don’t get mad at me for saying that. They won’t. They know I’m joking.”

As Aaron Dobson continues to miss training, LaFell could be a likely choice to take his spot.

Newswire assembled by Patriots Insider contributor AnneMarie Blanco (Ablanco on the forums). Look for more updates from AnneMarie here at Patriots Insider throughout the offseason.

Patriots Insider Top Stories