NFL Wire News

Belichick pleased with progress of QB Garoppolo


With the New England Patriots having locked up the No. 1 AFC seed and a first-round playoff bye heading into Sunday’s season finale, rookie backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo likely will see some plenty of action.

The Patriots (12-3) have nothing on the line in the home game against the Buffalo Bills (8-7), who have already been eliminated from the postseason.

Coach Bill Belichick is pleased with Garoppolo’s progress in his rookie season.

“Jimmy has worked hard and consistently improved every week,” Belichick said Friday morning before practice. “He’s running different offenses with the scout team and having to keep up with what we are doing and our installation and our game plan on a weekly basis. He’s been durable, healthy, out there every day, keeps getting better. (He) has worked on a lot of things that we have identified for him to do. He’s been better and has a better understanding of the league. These last three weeks have been good for him.”

Tom Brady has started all 15 games at quarterback so far this season. The only other quarterback on the active roster is Garoppolo, who has appeared in five games, all in mop-up duty. Garoppolo, drafted in the second round out of Eastern Illinois, has attempted 10 passes, completing nine for 92 yards and one touchdown.

Belichick was asked about another rookie on the team, Bryan Stork, who has started 10 games at center and is expected to get the start Sunday. Stork was a fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State.

“Of all the guys, (Stork has) maybe had the longest season than some of the other rookies, but it’s still a big adjustment,” Belichick said. “He’s worked hard. Very serious, very dedicated to football. I’d say it’s been less grinding on him than some other rookies I’ve seen.

“Overall I think he’s done a pretty good job. He’s got a real blue-collar attitude, comes to work every day, every week. He’s been very consistent all year, you don’t see a lot of roller coaster in him, personally or playing-wise, he’s been pretty consistent.”

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