Chase Winovich knows he was wrong to hit Jimmy Garoppolo from behind during last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
He also knows Garoppolo put on Oscar-worthy acting job as he fell to the turf.
During an appearance Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak and Bertrand,” Winovich was asked about the hit — which came during a Devin McCourty interception return and drew a 15-yard penalty for an illegal blindside block — and his animated conversation with head coach Bill Belichick that followed.
“That’s between us, so we’re going to leave that on the field,” the New England Patriots outside linebacker said. “Yeah, (Garoppolo) obviously did flop, though. He admitted he flopped. I’m not saying that was the conversation on the field. … The play was especially bad because when (McCourty) intercepted it, where I was standing, like — obviously the guy that intercepted it was to the right. And so I’m like, ‘OK, I’m going to go block the most logical guy that could actually make a play,’ because he started sprinting to the sideline. In my head, I’m like, ‘OK, he’s going to go seal it off.’ But, of course, he cut across the field and ended up on the other side.
“And so now all of a sudden, it looked like you have this poor old quarterback that’s running for his life and you got this mean bully viking warrior, just chasing him down and hucking him from behind.”
Winovich was sure to note that Garoppolo’s embellishment didn’t excuse his own poor judgment.
“I’m not justifying it by any means,” Winovich said. “I’ve got to be smarter and do better moving forward, no doubt. But, you know, I made a decision in the heat of the moment, and it is what it is. But to be honest, it’s football, it’s my first penalty as a professional. I’ve just got to be better and I will. That won’t happen again.”
An every-down player for the first four weeks of the season, Winovich played just 13 defensive snaps against the San Francisco, nine of which came before his penalty. The 2019 third-round pick also saw diminished playing time against the Denver Broncos in Week 6, playing mostly on passing downs.
Winovich was asked for his reaction to this lighter workload.
“That’s what it goes back to, just trusting the process,” he said during his radio spot. “There’s some other -isms like doing your job, and I could be better. That’s all there is to it. I know I can help the team win, and a lot of that starts with just making sure that I have their trust. I’ve got to make sure that I’m crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s so I can play fast and do everything that they expect of me.
“Obviously, everything’s ratcheted up once you start losing, especially. The microscope comes in. But I’m just trying to avoid falling into that trap of the blame game and doing all this stuff. If anything, I’m just going to try to take this on the chin as much as I can. I’ve got broad shoulders. I’ll take as much blame as necessary.
“I know that I can play football, and I’m going to do everything I can in my power, 24/7, thinking about ways that I can do my job better. And I plan on doing that.”