Patriots crush Jags in preseason opener, 47-12

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Patriots crush Jags in preseason opener, 47-12

By Jimmy Toscano
CSNNE.com

Tom Brady didn't play. Or Jerod Mayo. Or Rob Gronkowski. Or Vince Wilfork.

And really, there were a ton of other stars who didn't touch the field for the Patriots Thursday night.

As it turns out, none of them were needed.

The Pats crushed the Jags, 47-12 -- icing on the pigskin-flavored cake that fans have been waiting far too long to taste.

It didn't start off all that great for the Pats, though.

The Jags received ball first and, led by rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, marched down the field and got on the board with a field goal.

The Pats answered by fumbling on their first possession. A nice pass from Brian Hoyer (15-for-21, 171 yards, one touchdown) to Aaron Hernandez (6 receptions, 68 yards) ended up with the tight end coughing up the ball deep in their own territory.

The Pats' 'D' held strong though and kept the Jags to just another field goal.

After the two teams exchanged punts, New England got to work.

With the ball on the Jags' 49-yard line, the Pats took eight plays, and 3 minutes and 57 seconds, to reach the end zone. Rookie running back Stevan Ridley (16 carries, 64 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 47 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns) pounded it in and the Pats took a 7-6 lead.

"I thought Ridley had some good runs and made a couple good catches," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "There were some other things in terms of the rounds, pass protection, a couple run-reads that didnt look well see how it looks on film, but thought he ran hard."

After just a 14-yard punt by the Jaguars' Matt Turk, the Pats took over at Jacksonville's 32 yard line. Hoyer found Hernandez for 19 yards, and then two plays later made a nice throw to second-year wide receiver Taylor Price (5 receptions, 105 yards) in the back of the end zone for the 13-6 lead.

Price was by far the best wide receiver on the field and his improvement was noted by Belichick, who said earlier this week that Price has improved in just about every aspect of his game.

"Taylor had some good plays, made a couple good catches," Belichick said. "I thought that was a tough catch he made in the end zone for a touchdown. He had a couple run-after-catch plays down the sideline there on the hitch pattern when he broke a tackle there by the corner.

"But again, he's done some of those things in practice the last couple weeks, but it was good to see it happen in the game. I think hes been very competitive in practice in training camp this year. The year has made a big difference for him."

After the Taylor TD, the two teams then exchanged field goals, and the Patriots took a 19-9 lead into halftime.

Rookie Ryan Mallet (12-for-19, 164 yards, 1 touchdown) took over in the second half and picked up right where Hoyer left off.

"I think both quarterbacks did a good job," Belichick said. "They moved the ball and we scored some points, so it was good. There were plenty of mistakes, a lot of things weve got to work on, but there were some positives."

An 82-yard drive was capped off by a Ridley one-yard TD run to make it 26-9. Then it was Mallet-to-Ridley for 16 yards to put the Pats up 33-9 at the end of three.

Richard Medlin (14 carries, 54 yards) capped an 80-yard drive with a two-yard run early in the fourth, and scored again a few minutes later.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."