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Jimmy Garoppolo takes some first-team reps Saturday

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With Tom Brady staring down a four-game, "Deflategate"-related suspension to start the season, it makes sense for the Patriots to ease backup passer Jimmy Garoppolo into the mix with New England's starters.

That's exactly what happened on Saturday, with NFL Media's James Palmer reporting that Garoppolo took a "few snaps" with the first team throughout practice. While Brady worked with the starters during every period of practice, his backup also dabbled with the team's stars.

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"As the periods would move on, then you would see a mixture of first-team and second-team players on the field together, and there's where you saw Jimmy Garoppolo get an opportunity to work with a variety of first-team offensive linemen, get to work with (tight end) Rob Gronkowski, get to work with (receiver) Julian Edelman," Palmer said on NFL Network's Inside Training Camp Live.

"He actually had a time with all the top-tier receivers during another period where he was working on goal-line passing plays where receivers were going against defensive backs," said Palmer. "And on the other field, Tom Brady was working with the running backs and the tight ends."

In that portion of work, Garoppolo threw "pass after pass" to first-team receivers and "showed that touch that (coach) Bill Belichick likes," Palmer reported.

Edelman later told Palmer that the position-group drills help Garoppolo to learn every route his wideouts run, with Edelman saying that "he's seen the growth" in the second-year passer.

We probably wouldn't post this about any other team, but New England's quarterback snaps are under the microscope with Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell set to attend a settlement conference on Aug. 12. Then there's an Aug. 19 date for both parties to meet again and either continue to conference or hear oral arguments.

Barring a reduction to Brady's four-game ban, Garoppolo's scant first-team reps in July are about to turn into a full helping come September.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Tom Brady's lawsuit and debates which veteran players are most likely to be cut.

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