For all the hubbub surrounding him at times, Moss was one of the constants for the offense. He played in every game and was part of every package, except for some single-receiver sets that were designed running plays. After running a long route, he would sometimes come off for one play, before returning. Bill Belichick has mentioned Moss’s consistency over time, and the playtime numbers once again reflect that. Contrary to what might be public perception, Moss has been about as steady, durable and consistent as the coaches could hope for over the last three seasons.
On the play of the rest of the Patriots offensive skill positions:
With Galloway not working out as the No. 3 receiver, it led to a big jump in playtime for Aiken. The No. 3 receiver spot seemed to have the offense handcuffed at times this season. … Welker’s numbers would be higher had he not missed two games early in the season, as he was part of two- three- and four-receiver packages.
Once again, Faulk led all running backs in playing time, a reflection of how often the Patriots are in passing sets and how valuable Faulk is in that package. … This was Maroney’s most consistent season in terms of playing time as he avoided the injury bug.
Although not often targeted in the passing game, the playtime of the tight ends Watson and Baker was consistent. This was Watson’s first season playing all 16 games. After playing late in the final preseason game, when it looked like his roster spot might be in jeopardy, Watson became one of the constants in offensive packages this season, utilized over Baker the majority of times in the base three-receiver set.
Hoyer appeared in five games at quarterback and the early signs, albeit with a small 60-snap sample, are encouraging for the Patriots. It looks like he is a find as a No. 2 quarterback. He appears further along than a draft pick like the Colts’ Curtis Painter and it seems fair to ask the question "How wasn’t he drafted?"
"Bill Belichick will never let you see that he has a weakness or that he’s vulnerable at any moment of time. In this particular situation this is going to give these guys motivation because no one is giving them a chance. Wes Welker was a huge part of that team. He was a guy, close to 60 percent of his catches had gone for first downs. You look at the impact that he made in the red area, so he’s going to be sorely missed. At the same time, Brady hasn’t lost a playoff game at home and has been very, very productive in the playoffs. Look for Tom to have added motivation with the loss of Wes Welker."
- Erik Scalavino Offense adapts to loss of Welker, plus Thursday practice notes from Gillette.
- John Cockrell Friday Out-Takes: The Oughts.
- Patriots Locker Room Quotes from Thursday at Gillette.
- Patriots-Thursday Injury Report.
- Patriots Today: Ravens Review, Thursday practice. (10:27 min. video)
Ravens Conference Calls: John Harbaugh (9:18 min), Ray Lewis (13:27 min) Plus Transcripts.
- Karen Guregian analyzes how the Patriots and Ravens match up this week.
- Christopher Price offers his thoughts as the Patriots' veterans and rookies prepare for the post-season.
- Mark Farinella catches up with LB Junior Seau who says playoff experience is "nice to have", but "it comes down to performance."
- Robert Lee reports the Patriots have a lot of respect for the 9-7 Ravens.
- Mike Petraglia knows the Ravens' Ray Lewis is still the heart and soul of their defense.
- Mike Reiss says an early indicator of the Patriots' success Sunday will be how well they tackle against Ravens running back Ray Rice, the NFL's leader in YAC.
- Mark Farinella gives some bad news to RB Ray Rice: Big vince is back.
- Dan Duggan Behind Enemy Lines: FB Le'Ron McClain and OLB Terrell Suggs.
- Shalise Manza Young notes Tom Brady's fourth quarters are not up to his usual standards.
- Ian Rapoport isn't buying the tweaked knee excuse, saying Laurence Maroney was benched and won't play unless he can hold onto the ball.
- Mike Reiss analyzes the playing time of Patriots offensive skill-position players over the course of the 2009 season, noting Randy Moss stands out at 85.2%.
- Ron Borges spits out his coffee after hearing Belichick's public praise of LB Derrick Burgess: "He really has [done a good job for us all year.] I think overall his run play has been good. He’s a very consistent player."
Jim Lazar (Bet Box) makes his Wild Card picks. Pats over Ravens 24-20.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Phil Simms eager to see Edelman at work.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) What makes Edelman dangerous? His college coach, Doug Martin, sits down with "First Take" host Dana Jacobson to discuss what drives Edelman. (5 min. video)
- Tim Layden (SI) Playoff Breakdown: Ravens at Patriots.
- Vic Carucci (NFL.com) Home cooking should help overcome loss of Welker.
- Gil Brandt (NFL.com) Familiarity breeds good matchups in first round of playoffs.
- Adam Schein (Fox Sports) Boom or Bust:Battered Pats will still beat Ravens.
- Tom Danyluk (ProFootball Weekly) Aces, Jokers and other Wild Cards.
- James Walker (ESPN) Ravens playoff hopes hinge on Rice.
- Greg Garber (ESPN) Crunch time clock management: making time an ally is difficult for even the best coaches.
- Rodney Harrison (ESPN Radio) Harrison talks Pats-Ravens on the Mike & Mike show.
- Don Banks (SI) Ten Super Bowl matchups to root for. Saints-Patriots anyone?
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Why Mangini kept his job.
- JJ Cooper (NFL Fanhouse) NFL standings for the decade: Colts, Patriots are the best.
- USA Today Wild Card Weekend: NFL game previews.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Playoff preview: Rushing is past tense in pass-intense postseason.
- NBC Sports Playoff players who are shining, stinking.
VIEW FROM BALTIMORE
- Ken Murray (Baltimore Sun) Despite 2nd year struggles, Flacco remains Joe Cool.
- Jamison Henley (Baltimore Sun) Ravens vs. Patriots: 3 things that need to go right and 3 things that could go wrong.
- Mike Preston (Baltimore Sun) Ravens-Patriots: An old-school shootout?
- Mike Duffy (BaltimoreRavens.com) Aiming for the strike zone: Ravens aren't going to change their position on attacking Tom Brady.
Kevin Van Valkenburg (Baltimore Sun) debates Chris Gasper (Boston Globe) on which team has the edge on defense.