Raiders pose serious threats to Patriots

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Raiders pose serious threats to Patriots

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn These are not your JaMarcus Russell-era Oakland Raiders, folks.

While it's way too soon for Raiders Nation to start booking flights to Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, there's no question that this is one of the better teams to come out of Oakland in a while.

For the New England Patriots, Sunday's game in Oakland will be the second in as many weeks against a team that's looking to make the transition from league doormat to being a more dominant force.

"There are problems all over the place that they present," said Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.

For O'Brien's crew, pass protection -- always a must -- takes on even greater importance against one of the league's best pass-rushing teams.Oakland already has 10 sacks this season, which ranks fourth in the NFL.

One of the keys to the Raiders defense is former Patriot Richard Seymour who has 10 tackles this season, including 2.5 sacks.

"These guys are really big up front," O'Brien said. "They're a physical defense. They're fast. That's part of our discussion right now, all the different areas of their defense."

The Patriots defense won't have it any easier on Sunday, not with Darren McFadden leading the league's best ground attack with an NFL-best 393 yards rushing this season.

With so many of today's elite teams in the NFL relying heavily on the passing attack to be successful, the Raiders seem to be from the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust era.

"They definitely like to run the ball," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "They got a good offensive line. They emphasize it a lot; you can see they're pretty good at it. Their backs are really special. They do enough in the passing game to make you worry about that, too. It's not just one thing. It'll be a big challenge for us."

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.