Teaching moments abound for Brissett in Garoppolo’s absence

Teaching moments abound for Brissett in Garoppolo’s absence

FOXBORO -- They weren't Jacoby Brissett's last practice reps of the spring, but they were his last with reporters in attendance and they illustrated perfectly why Bill Belichick calls OTAs a "teaching camp."

Class was in session. 

The final few minutes of Tuesday's practice were all Brissett's because Jimmy Garoppolo was about 100 yards away doing some conditioning with other injured players. 

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Until that point, Brissett had put together a nice practice performance. He showed good touch on deep attempts. The ball came out quickly on short-to-intermediate throws. 

But things unraveled a little for him at the end during 11-on-11s.

One attempt for Chris Hogan was broken up. Deep passes were overthrown. One screen attempt was fired into the dirt. Another incompletion seemed to be the result of Brissett's leg getting stepped on or brushed out from under him. The last pass of the period was batted at the line of scrimmage and picked by undrafted rookie linebacker Harvey Langi. 

One of Brissett's few completions in that portion of practice came when Devin Lucien made a diving grab on a low fastball just before it hit the turf.

As Brissett has often done this spring, he hung back after the team ran The Hills, and he got in some reps with other down-the-depth-chart pass-catchers. 

While he threw to some of his younger teammates, veteran receiver Danny Amendola stopped on his way into the locker room and shared some of his thoughts on where the second-year quarterback was in his development.

"I can tell he's getting better," Amendola said. "He's getting stronger. He's learning the verbiage and the play-calls, and he's throwing the ball well. It's a matter of mentally getting it down. He's getting better."

It's been written ad nauseam in this space, but the way in which Brissett grows this season could impact how the Patriots approach the quarterback position down the road. A third-round pick last year, Brissett seems to have the physical skill -- particularly the arm strength -- required to play the position in New England. 

The question is how quickly can he pick things up in order to give the Patriots another legitimate option behind center? 

Brissett has admitted that there's a gap between what he can do and what the two veterans ahead of him are capable of, but he's working to close the gap. 

"I can tell he's working hard," Amendola said, "and he's getting better every day. He's so young, and he has a long way to go. But we're all really happy to have him, and he does a good job, especially for a young guy." 

Amendola noted that seeing Brissett work after practice to get a few more reps -- even on a day where he was the No. 2 quarterback -- was a good sign that Brissett understands the importance of "getting your stuff done" and being a professional.

"He's learning man. He's learning," Amendola said. "I think once he feels and learns the groove of year-in-year-out professionalism, that's where you see guys grow the most. He's learning, man. He just needs time. He's doing well."

One of the players most accustomed to catching passes from Brissett is fellow second-year player Devin Lucien. Drafted in the seventh round last year out of Arizona State, the wideout said that there is no doubt in his mind Brissett is far more comfortable running things at the line of scrimmage this year as compared to last year. 

There was one moment that stood out in that regard at Tuesday's workout. In an 11-on-11 period, Brissett scoped out the defensive alignment and made a signal in the direction of undrafted rookie wideout Cody Hollister. Brissett looked Hollister's way after the snap and hit Hollister in stride for a long over-the-shoulder completion with undrafted rookie corner Kenny Moore in tight coverage. 

If Brissett indeed changed Hollister's route at the line, it was the right call. 

"I'm sure," Lucien said, "as a rookie you come in with a whole bunch of bearded guys that are huge, some receivers that are older than you, you might be kind of shy to be that controlling dude. I know I would be, honestly. I think the biggest thing for Jacoby is just that he's more comfortable. I think that's just starting to show for you guys. He feels more comfortable making signals, the checks at the line, all that. I think it just comes with time."

Brissett got plenty of time on Tuesday with Garoppolo down, and there were teaching moments aplenty. Call it another small step for a young quarterback who teammates think is moving in the right direction. 

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.