Dowling says he's 100 percent

458190.jpg

Dowling says he's 100 percent

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Its safe to say that Ras-I Dowling wont be participatingin the same off-the-field activities as Nate Solder.

The Patriots selected Dowling with the 33rd overall pick onFriday the first pick in the second round and in his post-selectionconference call, the cornerback from Virginia described himself as a strongbeliever in Jesus Christ who enjoyed going to church and reading the Bible inhis spare time.

Thats somewhat different from the hobbies of New Englandsfirst-round selection, Nate Solder, who enjoyed hunting in his free time.

But similar to Solder, Dowling is thrilled to have beendrafted by the Patriots, and said hes willing to do whatever the team needshim to do, in order to win.

I was just rejoicing with my family that this opportunitycame to me, said Dowling from his home in Chesapeake, Virginia. I reallywasnt surprised, because I believe in my abilities.

Im just really happy it was the Patriots, he said. Itsa great organization, and Im just happy to be there.

Dowling said he had no pre-draft visit with anyone from thePatriots organization. In fact, the only pre-draft contact he had, was at thecombine, the same way he spoke with other teams.

He also said that he had no experience manning the slot orplaying safety in college, but did believe special teams was an important partof his game.

Thats one aspect every team needs to win a game, he said.

Dowlings father named him after the professional boxer,Livingstone Bramble, who later changed his name to Ras-I. But the 6-foot-1,198-pound cornerback couldnt dodge the punches that are the injury concernssurrounding his name.

Dowling played only five games during his senior season atthe University of Virginia, thanks to several leg injuries. In his conferencecall on Friday, he said hes been 100 percent for a while.

Im feeling great, said Dowling. Im 100 percent. If wehad camp tomorrow, Id be ready to go.

Im just a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and just havingmy faith, he added about how he deals with injuries. Whenever my time is up,hes going to lift me up in his glory.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.