FOXBORO, Mass. — Much has been made this summer of the relationship between New England Patriots quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo, who is set to start the first four games of the regular season while Brady serves his four-game Deflategate suspension, frequently is asked about his interactions with Brady and how the superstar quarterback has helped him along in his development as an NFL signal-caller.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, however, believes teaching younger players isn’t part of Brady’s — or any other veteran’s — job description.
Should Brady strive to perform at his best and lead Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett by example? Of course, Belichick said. But actual teaching? Leave that to the coaches.
“Well, I think veteran players can be a good example for younger players in terms of their preparation, and their attitude, and their work ethic, and the way they go about things,” Belichick said in his Tuesday news conference at Gillette Stadium. “We have a lot of guys that I would put in that category that — when you watch them do things, they do them right, and it’s easy to say to a younger player, ‘Do what that guy does’, and you’d be off to a good start.
“But that being said, I think everybody on the team, really their No. 1 focus is to get ready to play football. Our players aren’t coaches, they’re players, and they need to get ready to play. I think every player needs to get ready to play. I don’t care how long you’ve been in the league. I don’t care what position you play. I don’t care how long you’ve coached. I don’t care what position you coach. We haven’t done it for a long time, a number of months, and now we all need to sharpen those skills up.
“That’s every player, that’s every coach, so I don’t really think players have a lot of time to run around and be telling everybody else what to do. Honestly, there is enough that all of them need to work on individually — and that would be every single player — that’s a full plate for them. I don’t really think that’s their job, and I don’t think any player has enough time to do that, because they all have things that they need to do to prepare for the season. But as far as being a good example and doing things right and all of that, we have a lot of guys that fall into that category, and that’s definitely a good thing. But that’s what they should be doing.”
The time for skill-sharpening nearly is over. The Patriots have only one preseason game remaining — Thursday night against the New York Giants — before opening the regular season next Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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