Belichick: Broncos have added wrinkles

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Belichick: Broncos have added wrinkles

FOXBORO -- The word "different" has been floating around Gillette Stadium all week.

Different as in, Tim Tebow and the Broncos' style. Not only are they different compared to every other NFL team, they now have packages that are different from what the Patriots saw in their Week 15 trip to Denver.

"They've added some things to their sub-defense, like their nickel and dime package last week," said Bill Belichick on Thursday.

"You see them adding plays, adding formations. It's hard to tell how much they're checking, but clearly there's some communication going on at the line of scrimmage, relative to defensive looks. I think you see a little more of that, that Tim has with the offense, and the communication that they have at the line of scrimmage."

It's easy to see that Tebow's role as a game-manager has improved since the Pats defeated the Broncos 41-23. He looked like a more complete quarterback in his 316-yard, two-touchdown passing performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend.

His improved passing game certainly adds to the different style of offense that Denver had has shown since Tebow became a starter.

"For the safeties and the corners, it's a little different game than I think what you play most of the time in this league," said Belichick. "I think as a defensive back, you're expecting passes on every play, and then when you don't get it, you don't get it. But here, it's run-force option responsibilities, and then play-action and double moves and things like that.

"Every time you come out of the huddle, the secondary's primary responsibility is always pass. But in addition to that, they've got a lot of run-force responsibilities in this game, and option and those kind of things. So it definitely puts pressure on, from that standpoint, that there's a lot more things to think about, for a defensive back."

Tebow's ability to run the ball himself, just adds to the different type of attack Denver will once again throw the Patriots' way in their second meeting of the year.

"I think what separates them from everybody else, is the amount of option that they run," said Belichick. "Whether it's the triple-option, whether there's actually three players involved, or whether it's the quarterback handing the ball off but potentially keeping it away from the direction of the play.

"You don't see a lot of teams do that. When they just hand the ball off, then their plays are similar to every body else's. They obviously have their own unique players doing them, and that makes them unique, but the amount of the quarterback keeping the ball with the different combinations of blocking schemes that they have and the true option plays -- either speed option or triple option, or dive, quarterback pitch -- you don't see that very often in this league. We're join got see it a lot Saturday night . . . They're different. I mean, we just don't see that."

How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

Ever since Derek Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the Raiders to give him the highest average annual contract value in league history, some version of the same question has been posed over and over again. 

What does this mean for other quarterbacks looking for new deals? 

Despite the fact that Carr's average annual value surpasses the previous high set by Andrew Luck ($24.6 million), and despite the fact that Carr's contract provides him the security that alluded him while he was on his rookie contract, his recent haul may not mean much for the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and other top-end quarterbacks.

They were already expecting monster paydays down the road that would hit (or eclipse) the $25 million range, and Carr's record-setting contract may not even serve as a suitable baseline for them, as ESPN's Dan Graziano lays out.

So if Carr's contract did little more for upper-echelon quarterbacks than confirm for them where the market was already headed, then does it mean anything for someone like Jimmy Garoppolo? 

Carr and Garoppolo were both second-round picks in 2014, but from that point, they've obviously taken very different roads as pros. Carr started 47 consecutive games in his first three years and by last season he had established himself as one of the most valuable players in the league. Garoppolo, by comparison, has started two games. 

Both players still hold loads of promise, but unless Garoppolo sees substantial playing time in 2017 and then hits the open market, he won't approach Carr's deal when his rookie contract is up.  

ESPN's Mike Reiss projected that a fair deal for Garoppolo on the open market might fall between the $19 million that was guaranteed to Chicago's Mike Glennon and Carr's contract, which includes $40 million fully guaranteed and $70 million in total guarantees, per NFL Media.

Perhaps something in the range of what Brock Osweiler received from the Texans after Osweiler started seven games for the Broncos in 2015 would be considered fair: four years, with $37 million guaranteed. Because Osweiler (before his deal or since) never seemed as polished as Garoppolo was in his two games as a starter in 2016, and because the salary cap continues to soar, the argument could be made that Garoppolo deserves something even richer. 

Though Garoppolo is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2017 season, there is a chance he doesn't get there quite that quickly. The Patriots could try to come to some kind of agreement with their backup quarterback on an extension that would keep him in New England, or they could place the franchise tag on him following the season. 

Either way, Garoppolo will get paid. But until he sees more time on the field, a deal that would pay him in the same range as his draft classmate will probably be out of reach.

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.