Tough talking about Steeltown for Jerod Mayo


Tough talking about Steeltown for Jerod Mayo

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is usually succinct in his sound bites. After a loss, he's about as chatty as a brick. A good-natured brick.

Mayo had his weekly meet with Tom Curran two days after New England fell 25-17 to the Steelers. Leading in the match up, quarterback Tom Brady flagged it as a learning opportunity.

So what did Mayo and the rest glean from giving up 10 of Pittsburgh's 16 third-down chances?

"We fought to the very end," he said. "We still had a chance to win the game at the end of it. It was a tough game for us."

He's not exactly wrong.

Though the defense gave Brady's bunch just 20 minutes to score, they did tamp down in the game's waning moments to give the 'O' another chance. It just wasn't enough; too much damage had already been done. The time of possession, the third downs, and the inability to stop Pittsburgh's aerial attack (365 yards surrendered) stacked the deck well in the Steelers' favor.

And it was a step back for an already struggling defense.

"It surprised us a little bit. We had a great week of practice and just didn't go out and execute like we wanted to."

Curran joked with the linebacker about his brevity.

"Yeah. Great answers," Mayo laughed.

Okay. Losing is a sensitive subject. No need to throw that on the breaking news wire. Talk of New England's weak defense has been building for almost four years. The deficiencies in the secondary, especially, have been obvious. But Mayo says the team isn't working itself up with worry.

How? There's at least one key strategy.

"Not listening to guys like you, to start off," he ribbed Curran. "But at the same time, we know people are going to say what they want to. We're not ready to hit the panic button. We know we have a good football team and we'll just continue to get better. We aren't even at the halfway point yet, so we have a long way to go."

Up next is the New York Giants. Eli Manning brings his 102.1 quarterback rating to Gillette for the first Pats-G-men showdown since New York won Super Bowl XLII 17-14 in mind-bending fashion.

Mayo, a senior at the University of Tennessee in 2007, says he watched that game at home in Virginia. He had no problem admitting who he pulled for.

"Patriots, baby."

His investment in New England is one NFL draft and many paychecks deeper now. He brings things up to date with Curran in the second half of the interview.

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

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.