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.

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.