Salas believes familiarity with offense will help

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Salas believes familiarity with offense will help

FOXBORO -- New Patriots receiver Greg Salas has a lot to catch up on and not a lot of time to do it.
A Saturday, post-cutdown addition to the team via trade, Salas has just one week before New England takes on the Titans in regular season action. The 24-year old was buried in the playbook during Monday's locker room availability.
"Just refreshing myself with the material and just concentrating on everything about Tennessee," he told the crowd of reporters.
Salas looked a little nervous. He certainly ain't in St. Louis anymore.
"It's a big difference," he said. "I'm just happy to be here."
Why him? Why not Jabar Gaffney, Donte' Stallworth, or (as of now) Deion Branch?
On Sunday, Bill Belichick gave a nod to the young receiver's versatility. And having a solid recommendation from former Rams head coach, current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can't hurt -- though Belichick said there was more to it than that.
"Josh had some firsthand experience with the player, no question," Belichick said. "But we scouted him coming out of Hawaii and followed him last year. We had a good feel for him before Josh was here just based on our scouting department and working him out and getting ready for the draft and all that."
The sample size of production in St. Louis was small, after all. Salas played just six games his rookie year because of a broken leg. He was productive for the Rams, recording 27 catches for 264 yards (22 catches in the last four games) in that span.
There are no limitations on that leg now.
So it helps the new playbook shares some similarities with the old one. The familiarity helps. As for where he'll be utilized in the offense, Salas believes he can play both outside and in the slot, as alluded to by Belichick.
"I know the expectations here are to win every game," Salas said, "and that's what I'm here to do."

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

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

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
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)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
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)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

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.”

Agreed.  

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.”