Notes: Ochocinco catching on with Pats

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Notes: Ochocinco catching on with Pats

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

FOXBORO For a while there, it seemed the only thing Chad Ochocinco could catch was flak for dropping so many passes in practice.

For any player new to a team like Ochocinco, there's a process involving learning the system, thinking through it and ultimately resulting in simply playing the game.

The learning curve for Ochocinco is still evident, but there's little doubt that one of the most prolific receivers in the NFL in recent years, is starting to get into a nice little groove.

That certainly was the case on Monday, as Ochocinco wowed the sometimes drenched, but always enthused Patriots crowd with a slew of acrobatic catches.

It was good to see, obviously.

But for Ochocinco as well as the rest of the Patriots, the first real measuring stick as far as where they are - and where they need to go - won't come until Thursday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"We certainly have a long way to go in terms of taking our plays and making them situation-friendly, being able to do them at the right time and with very specific situations and so forth," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "It's a big week for us; we've got a lot to do here."

It's still early and there's a lot of kinks that still need to be ironed out, but that won't stop Tom Brady from wanting every play to work perfectly . . . NOW!

For most of Monday's practice, Brady made the receiver's job for the most part a three-part operation.

Get open. Look for the ball. Clasp the ball.

But on the few plays where Brady either added a few degrees of difficulty with a not-so-Brady-like throw, or just chucked it where it didn't need to go, he was visibly angry at himself.

Kevin Faulk, Brandon Spikes, Brandon Deaderick, Albert Haynesworth and Matt Light were among those out of practice on Monday.

Tackle Dan Connolly spent some time on the sideline on Monday with his right elbow heavily wrapped in ice.

Guard Logan Mankins was laboring a bit after taking a shot to the midsection.

Despite the heavy downpour on Monday, the Patriots fans - not to be confused with fair weather fans, mind you - literally weathered the storm with most of those in attendance prior to the heavy rain, remaining around after it stopped, only to start up again and eventually end shortly before practice ended.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

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.