Bill Belichick wants Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo to take risks during practice

"It’s a way ... to have a better understanding of what to do, and sometimes what not to do"

Foxborough- 8/3/2016- The New England Patriots practiced at their training camp at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady takes a knee after a drill. Boston Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki(sports)
Tom Brady has thrown a few interceptions during preseason. –John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe

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Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo have thrown a number of interceptions at practice since the start of training camp, including one each in Tuesday’s joint practice with the New Orleans Saints.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained why those interceptions aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“It’s a balance, but certainly I encourage the quarterbacks to take more of a risk in practice than in the game,” Belichick said before practice Tuesday. “That’s when a quarterback can really develop confidence in a player; throwing it into a tight spot or having the guy make a touch catch. Can he get it into a small window? You don’t want the first time that happens to be in a game and then find out and have him say, ‘Well I shouldn’t have thrown that.’ If that’s going to happen, let’s have it happen in practice, if we’re going to take that kind of risk.”

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“At the same time, we don’t want to go out there and throw 12 interceptions every practice either, that’s not the idea. But as far as taking a risk, doing something in practice that you wouldn’t do in the game, if there’s a reason for doing it, which I’d say there’s a lot of reasons for doing that, and we talk about those, then I’d say there’s definitely a place for that. It’s a way for, in the passing game particularly, to have a better understanding of what to do, and sometimes what not to do; what you can do, where the risk is worth it, and where it isn’t. Those are all good teaching situations.”

Brady is still developing rapport with new arrivals Martellus Bennett, Chris Hogan, and Nate Washington, along with potential depth players like DeAndre Carter and Chris Harper. Garoppolo is working to get up to speed with the entire first unit, as he’ll start during Brady’s four-game suspension for Deflategate.

With these connections still forming, lapses in communication and chemistry have led to interceptions.

“It’s OK to do that as long as we learn from it,” Belichick said. “And then don’t make it cause a mistake in the game.”

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