FOXBOROUGH, MA - JUNE 4: Tom Brady, #12 of the New England Patriots, practices during organized team activities at Gillette Stadium on June 4, 2015 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tom Brady

Report: Patriots tell Jimmy Garoppolo to man up and play with his bad shoulder

The Pats either really want Garappolo to play through the pain or they're just playing dead.

Jimmy Garoppolo continues to be doubtful for Thursday night's game between the Patriots and the Texans, but he's reportedly being pressed to play through the injury.

The Boston Herald reports that Garoppolo took part in practice Tuesday, which could mean that coaches expect that he'll be available despite a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, and even reminded him that Tom Brady played with similar injuries several times in his career.

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However, just how realistic New England's expectations are, and whether they may be counterintuitive is in question. According to reports, Garoppolo is having trouble lifting his right arm, so the idea that there would be some dramatic change in 24 hours or so doesn't gel. And even if Garoppolo did, by some miracle, end up starting, would his arm be strong enough to warrant giving him the nod over rookie Jacoby Brissett? Not likely.

There's also the possibility that Bill Belichick and the Patriots are doing what they always do—-trying to outsmart everyone. By making it appear that Garoppolo's status is a game-time decision, they could be making it difficult for the Texans, who own the NFL's third-ranked scoring and total defenses, to gameplan.

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Per usual, though, Belichick was wearing his best poker face when he told reporters that Garoppolo's status for Thursday is up to him and the doctors, not the coaching staff.

"A player's personal situation, his health, always comes first," he said. "I'm a football coach. The medical staff is the medical staff. I coach the team; the medical people handle the injuries. They don't call plays; I don't do surgery. We've got a great deal there. It works out good."

If only what we knew about Belichick and the Pats was that above board.