FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass in Wednesday night's in-stadium practice and spotted wide receiver Josh Boyce deep down the middle with a step behind rookie cornerback Jimmy Jean. So he let it rip with the following thought in mind: "Don't underthrow it, let it out there!"
It was his best throw of the night, the highlight of a practice attended by an announced crowd of 23,497.
"JB ran a great route, got open, and I just let it fly," Garoppolo detailed. "The line gave me plenty of time, they did a great job up front, and it turned out to be a nice play."
Garoppolo had some shaky moments at other times of practice (reporters charting throws had him at about a 50 percent completion rate), as he received the majority of repetitions with Tom Brady essentially getting the night off.
It marked the first time that the Patriots have let Garoppolo run the show since training camp opened on July 30.
"It's on, it's on -- every rep matters, and when you get an opportunity like this to come out with the guys and have the majority of reps, it's a good thing and you have to take advantage of it," he said. ""I'm pretty critical of myself. I think that's a good thing."
Garoppolo explained the practice was more "game-like" in the sense that he wasn't switching with Brady. Asked if there was a point when he'd like to receive those type of reps regularly in the event he's needed to start the NFL opener, Garoppolo deflected.
"We rotate a ton; that's not my decision," he said, later adding he is seldom given advance notice of how the repetitions will be divided. "Coach likes to rotate guys in and out and whenever and wherever I go in, I'll do my best. ... I can't really worry about it. It's not my decision when I go in or where I go in. Whenever Coach puts me in, I have to take advantage of the opportunity."
Belichick, meanwhile, explained his viewpoint of splitting the repetitions.
"We don't have backups and starters, we just have a team," he said. "Everybody is out there competing. It's just a team, that's all. ... All the players will earn their playing time. Whatever they get, they'll earn it."