BOSTON (CBS) – Mandatory organized team activities for the Patriots are underway, so 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich wanted to hear from somebody who’s been down at camp everyday.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald came on the show Wednesday morning to give an OTAs overview, starting with the wunderkind second round draft pick.
Fred kicked off the discussion demanding that Howe peek into his crystal ball to predict the future for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Howe said it’s still too early to make a great assessment, but he’s looked better than Mallett did when he first got to New England and joked, “They’re inducting his actual head into Canton this morning.”
On a more serious note, Howe had this to say about the Eastern Illinois product:
“[Garoppolo] looks good. He’s making progress. The first practice was in a driving rainstorm and he was just like the rest of the quarterbacks who didn’t really throw the ball well, but the last couple times we’ve seen him he’s been a lot better. Yesterday he delivered an absolute dime about 40 yards down the right sideline to [receiver] Jeremy Johnson in between the corner and safety — it could not have been thrown any better. Like any rookie quarterback you’re not seeing him go down the field too often, so that was kind of a surprise.
“He’s struggled with going down the field and the out routes — he’s definitely taking a little longer to adjust to the speed, which is expected. He relies on the running backs a lot in the flats and the receivers in the crossing patterns. Once things slow down he’ll be able to open up his repertoire.”
The second round pick is coming along, but their first round pick is still unsigned. In fact, Dominique Easley is one of only four first round picks without a contract. Toucher & Rich theorized this is due in part to Easley’s injury history, but Howe said that’s not the case and that it’s more due to the guaranteed money language.
“The goal of the Patriots is to have this deal done by the end of mini camp, so we’ll see if this soft deadline spurs any action.”
Easley, when signed, will play alongside veteran Vince Wilfork, who’s coming back just fine after tearing his Achilles in Week 4 of the 2013 season.
“[Wilfork] has made more progress than I think anybody really expected to at this point. He was out there for the entire practice yesterday, but his reps were extremely limited over the last few sets of 11-on-11 drills. This is progress from the previous two times we’ve seen him. He used to be out there for an hour of practice then go rehab inside the bubble (Dana Farber Fieldhouse). I think the fact they’re keeping him out there means the rehab schedule has changed and they’re more confident in the progress he’s making.
“I think with Wilfork, along with everybody, you want them ready by training camp and out there when the pads are on and the playbook is getting fully installed. The mental reps are just fine for Wilfork at this point, especially when you’re dealing with that type of injury. There’s no need to push him at this point. The progress is further than I expected going into the OTAs when they started three weeks ago.”
Listen below for the full discussion, including the impact of Darrelle Revis and the whereabouts of Alfonzo Dennard: