PATRIOTS QB JIMMY GAROPPOLOAUGUST 19, 2015
Q: How do your college games compare to Sean Payton's?
JG: I've never really seen his game film, but he was a stud back then. Apparently, he was setting all the records and all that stuff, so he must've been pretty good.
Q: How was it to have Tom Brady back out there working with you today?
JG: It was good – all the pieces out there offensively. Obviously, missing a couple of guys, but it was a good day offensively.
Q: What are your impressions of the facility here?
JG: It's unbelievable – first class all the way from where we're staying to the fields out here. It's really nice.
Q: Do you ever talk to Sean Payton about who the best Eastern Illinois quarterback is?
JG: He asked me that in the combine process, I remember, but I'll keep the answer private for now. You'll have to ask him.
Q: How ready to play do you feel if you have to go out there in the season opener against Pittsburgh?
JG: I think we're going in the right direction. It's a day-by-day thing. You can't look too far ahead. If we start look past all these preseason games, things could get ugly. You've just got to take it day-by-day, not really looking that far ahead, and the rest will take care of itself.
Q: How was that two-minute drill at the end of practice?
JG: Yeah, it's always good to convert a two-minute drill. You try to mimic the game as best you can, and that comes up a lot in an NFL game. To come out here and convert on both of them, it's pretty good.
Q: Is it more intense practicing against someone else?
JG: It's intense, but a normal practice is intense, too. You come out here, seeing a different look is probably the biggest thing that kicks up the energy. You're going against guys you haven't gone against. I mean, you hit the same guys for two or three weeks in camp. You get sick of it, so when you get a different look is always refreshing.
Q: Before you were drafted by the Patriots, did you think at any point that New Orleans could've been a destination for you?
JG: It could've been, but things worked out the way they did for a reason. I think everything happens for a reason. I'm happy I'm with the Patriots. Garrett Grayson, best of luck to him.
Q: Is this a good opportunity to take note and learn from the things Drew Brees does?
JG: There's very little time for that. We were separated on the field for most of the time, and when we are on the same field, we're just going over things that just happened on the field, what we're going to expect in the next series. You might catch a glimpse here or there, but it's tough. I'll put it that way.
Q: What is the main thing you've taken from Tom Brady so far?
JG: His preparation – he's unbelievable at preparing week in and week out. Being a young guy, you look at that and you know it's a long season. You try to take a little bit of that and try to put it towards your game.
Q: How important is it to get Aaron Dobson on the field and get him healthy?
JG: It would be nice to have AD out there. He's a great player, and hopefully, we'll get him back soon.
Q: What message did your coaching staff give you in terms of fighting at these joint practices?
JG: You just don't want that. It's not benefitting either one of the teams, and nothing good is going to come out of it. I think we go out there, handle our business, and we're all professionals at the end of the day.
Q: Is it about finding the balance between making the practice competitive and keeping your emotions in check?
JG: Definitely. We're all competitors. We all want to go out there and do great and compete against each other, but at the end of the day you don't want to get someone hurt on something stupid like a fight or something like that. You just have to be smart.
Q: Do you believe in positive momentum, like the good way you ended practice today?
JG: It can't hurt. It definitely can't hurt, but it's a long practice. There are going to be ups and downs, but as a quarterback, you have to stay levelheaded, keep going, next play, next play, and if you keep doing that, good things will happen.
[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="350051"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]PATRIOTS WR MATTHEW SLATERCONFERENCE CALLAugust 19, 2015
Q: How was the practice today different in terms of tempo, pace and intensity compared to the first two weeks of training camp?
MS: Obviously, when you go against a new opponent, adrenaline kicks in and the competitive level is very high. It's a very good football team we're going against. The intensity was definitely up and I think it was good for our football team to get some good work today.
Q: I'm sure you are aware of what's happened with the Texans and Redskins, and the Cowboys and Rams yesterday. Is there a conscious effort to stay away from the brawl situations that seem to escalate quickly?
MS: I'm not going to comment on those situations, but I know that Coach [Bill Belichick] has always stressed that we're here to work and just play football, and that's what we try to do is just try to play football and not let all that other stuff come into the picture.
Q: How beneficial is it for you as a special teams player to go against some new players?
MS: I think it's huge. I think it's very challenging; it's a chance to work on your craft. I know for me, I get a lot out of these things, so I think it's huge to be able to do this and simulate as best we can game speed in practice.
Q: How has the special teams unit progressed since the beginning of camp?
MS: We've taken some good steps. Joe [Judge] has got a great plan in place, and Ray [Ventrone], but obviously there is a long way for us to go. We have a lot of work to do. We have to get used to playing together, so we've just got to take it one day at a time and continue to try to improve.
Q: You didn't suit up for the last preseason game. How important is it for you to get on the field Saturday against the Saints?
MS: My biggest focus is just handling [my own situation]. Whatever the plan is this weekend I'm not sure, but I've got to just try to work to get better tomorrow and we'll take it from there.
Q: Sean Payton said this morning that he's tried to use the Patriots organization as a model for what they're doing. Do you see any similarities between the way the Saints run things and the way the Patriots run things?
MS: I'm not going to get into any comparisons. We're just focused on what's going on in our camp. Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Coach Payton and what they do, but our focus is here on us, what we need to do.
Q: Did you get a chance to see Brandon Browner today?
MS: Yes, I got a chance to catch up with him. It's always good to see guys that you played with and had a relationship with. He seems to be doing well. It was good to see him.
Q: What has it been like to work with Ray Ventrone as a coach, having had him as a former teammate?
MS: It's been a blast. Ray has always been a great resource for me. When I first came into the league, he shared so much knowledge with me about the kicking game, and now to have him and have his eye out there out on the field, it's just a great resource for us all and we're lucky to have him.
PATRIOTS DE CHANDLER JONESCONFERENCE CALLAugust 19, 2015
Q: How is it working against some new faces today?
CJ: It felt good to get out here and compete against a different team. You get a lot of different looks, and it's good for our team.
Q: How different is the tempo in these practices? Is it similar to practice in Foxboro?
CJ: It's very similar. I feel like the coaches do a good job of getting on the same page and merging the practices together, and that's exactly what we're doing.
Q: Did Bill Belichick take any measures to avoid fighting before this practice?
CJ: Well, you understand that practice is going to be very competitive. We're out here to get better. That's what we're doing. Our job is to get better. The Saints are trying to get better. The Patriots are trying to get better. And that's our main goal; that's what we're coming out here to do every day.
Q: How have you seen the development of the linebackers to this point?
CJ: Not just the linebackers, but everyone – the defensive line, the secondary and the linebackers – I like it, and everyone is jelling together, and we're just going to keep moving forward.
Q: Do you see this time away from home as an opportunity to bond with the team?
CJ: Not even just away, even in Foxboro, even in training camp, we're staying together as a team. We see each other every hour of the day during training camp, just about, so our biggest thing is basically just jelling together. That's our bonding time, not just out here in West Virginia, but even in Foxboro. Any opportunity that we all have together as a team, any time that we can spend together, that's our bonding time, whether it's on the field, in the film room or on the practice field.
Q: What is it like to see another quarterback and another team at this point in training camp?
CJ: You have different guys. Tom [Brady] has a different release than Drew Brees or a different quarterback, so you get different timing and different releases. Tom is also taller than a lot of other quarterbacks, so sometimes it's easier to see Tom back there, as opposed to Drew Brees, who's a bit shorter. But great quarterbacks – they're both great players, tremendous players, and like I said, it's good to get different looks against different guys.
Q: In joint practices, coaches can control more what's going on and can do more teaching in between plays. Do you find that helpful?
CJ: Yeah, and that's why it's practice and not a game. That's what the preseason game is for. Practice is to get better as a team and to get different looks to see how our team does against those looks. Practicing now, our team is going to go 110 percent, but it's good to have practice to see certain looks and formations.
Q: When you're going up against another team, do you watch and study your opponents or are you more focused on what you're doing and improving on that?
CJ: Basically, improving on what I'm doing. I come in with a few points and a few focuses individually as a player. I come in and try to get a few things done. You never try to out too much on your plate at once, so I just try to accomplish those goals out here at practice. As we get closer to the game – not to look ahead – but that's when I would go back and look at things that I've done in practice that might have worked. But other than that, I'm just here to try to get better.