The Patriots haven't really replaced Randy Moss. They've done just fine without him, as the statistics and won-loss record since he left indicate. But the home-run element, the need to guard against a wideout either running right past or jumping right over a corner, doesn't exist for this team right now. That explains why they were in the hunt for Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. The 30-year-old Lloyd, who led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards in his breakout 2010 season, is in the final year ofhis deal with the Broncos and has requested a trade. Multiple reports had the Patriots in the mix for Lloyd's services, along with San Francisco and St. Louis. Ultimately, the Rams sewed up Lloyd, according to Jason LaCanfora at the NFL Network. The fact Lloyd becomes a free agent at the end of the year means that any team acquiringhim ranthe risk of losing whatever pick it sent in compensation after just 10 games of regular-season service in 2011 if it can'tre-sign Lloyd. And the Patriots' dynamic in trying to re-sign Lloyd would have been complicated by the fact they can't (and shouldn't) disrespect Wes Welker - also a free agent to-be - with an offer to retain Lloyd that would have trumped something Welker's offered. But the asking price for Lloyd - who has 19 catches for 283 yards in four games this season - was intriguing enough for the Patriots, experts at buying quality on the cheap. The pros to Lloyd? He jumps out of the gym (7-2 high jump in high school) and doesn't have a lot of wear on his tires. He also worked in Josh McDaniels' offense when McDaniels - now the Rams offensive coordinator - was in Denver. Cons? One year of great production and a background of inconsistency. That the Patriots are looking to add a wideout right now shows just how useless the acquisition and expenditure on Chad Ochocinco has been. And since they've already burned two picks on a guy who's made just nine catches and will cost 6 million probably made them think twice about upping the ante on Lloyd.
FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable.
Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws.
Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful.
The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.
“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”
Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”
Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not.
I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”