FOXBORO -- It seemed everywhere you looked Thursday afternoon, there was a target for Tom Brady.
Aaron Hernandez snatched passes out of the air, Rob Gronkowski lumbered down field as he does, Deion Branch toed the sideline, Wes Welker lit up the seam.
And then there was Donte' Stallworth, who still has bursting speed. Brandon Lloyd was even faster.
Jabar Gaffney? He looked brilliant on the receiving end of a 55-yard bomb from Brady.
"I know the competition that we have definitely at the receiver position there's a lot of guys that can play," said Gaffney. "It'll bring the best out of us each and every day, which is what you need to become a better player and a better team."
There are 10 on the current roster. Bill Belichick likely won't keep more than six. Is this a camp equation that equals desperation for a guy like Gaffney?
"There's just a sense of coming out here and doing my job best that I can and everything else will play out. I'm confident in my abilities."
Two things -- or rather, people -- are on his side.
Tom Brady is the first.
"Hes still the same: full of energy, loves to compete, wants to win on every play," Gaffney said. "That helps us out, when you see a quarterback like that who wants to win every play in practice."
After one dropped pass, the pair recovered their chemistry quickly -- something that could help Gaffney secure a roster spot.
Another ally is offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Gaffney's and McDaniels' careers have overlapped both in New England (2006-2008) and in Denver (2009-2010). That they've returned to the Patriots at the same time is nothing but good news.
"Josh is a great coach. He's a guy that players love to play for. He gets us ready to get onto the field and gets us coached up, puts us in position. In my opinion, hes one of the best offensive coordinators out there. And hes a good person.
Funny how old faces could spark a new fire to the receiving corps.
Did Gaffney ever dream he'd come back to New England? Maybe when the Patriots visited Washington.
"I was talking to Brady about it before the game, 'One more game together'" Gaffney joked. "It never really felt like, during that time, it was going to happen, but things worked out and I'm here."