Redskins' WR Gaffney explains No. 3 role on Pats

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Redskins' WR Gaffney explains No. 3 role on Pats

FOXBORO -- Jabar Gaffney spent three seasons in New England. Since, he's spent two seasons in Denver, and is currently in his first season with the Washington Redskins.

And his presence on the field, Sunday, against the Patriots, may remind those in New England that it's not an easy task to try and find the right fit for a No. 3 wide receiver on the depth chart.

That's what Gaffney was when he was with the Patriots. There was Randy Moss. There was Wes Welker. And then there were guys like Gaffney.

He was part of the 2007 powerhouse offense, along with Moss, Welker, and wide receiver Donte Stallworth. Gaffney finished that season with a career-high five touchdown receptions and 449 receiving yards.

These days in New England, the Patriots are still searching for that No. 3 wide receiver on the depth chart. Technically, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez own that role, but still, they're listed as tight ends.

Gaffney offered some insight, during a conference call on Wednesday, as to why he was able to click with Tom Brady right away.

"Just all the attention to detail and his attention to detail," said Gaffney about Brady. "He pretty much lets you know what he expects and he puts in a lot of work. I was always a guy that didnt mind putting in work, so we got on the same page real quick."

In order to succeed as the No. 3 wide receiver in New England, Gaffney said, one has to "look at himself as the number one, because on any play, Brady really does probably the best job of any quarterback of reading the play and he will get it to you. You want to be reliable on that side because if he comes to you, you have to make plays."

That's something that guys like Chad Ochocinco and the recently cut Taylor Price have been unable to do.

"Its a pretty tough offense, and if youre not really used to it, it can be a little overwhelming," said Gaffney. "And with Bill Belichick, if you dont know your stuff, hes not going to put you out there and trust you in those situations.

"You have to be smart out there and you have to know everything. You can have four or five different routes on each play and you just need to be on the same page with the quarterback and reading the defense at the same time."

Brady and Belichick praised Gaffney on Wednesday for being able to come in and do the things he was supposed to.

"We know Jabar is an excellent route runner, hes a good receiver, very disciplined and dependable guy," said Belichick. "The Redskins change their passing game around from week to week. Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan do a good job of that. They have a lot of core concepts but they build them from different formations, different personnel groups. And then they usually have a few patterns each week that really attack that particular team that theyre playing, whether its the individual personnel or the scheme that they're using and they do a good job of that."

"He could do it all," said Brady. He plays every position. I think thats the thing makes him such a good receiver, is his versatility. There are times when you're in the slot and then you have to go outside and now you're in a bunch of receivers or you're in a combination route with another receiver. Whatever it was, hed always figure out a way to understand what he had to do and then get open."

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.