When the season ended, it seemed that one of the more unstable positions on the football field for the Patriots was their receiving corps. Wes Welker and Deion Branch were both slated to go to free agency, Chad Ochocinco was coming off an awful campaign, and they guys like Tiquan Underwood that were being used as immediate depth. But we now sit in mid-May, and wideout is one of the solidified positions they have.
Both Welker and Branch were brought back for at least another year, and the team also added guys like Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth and Anthony Gonzalez. One man who was used to having depth to work with at receiver in 2007 was offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who had Welker, Gaffney, Stallworth as well as Randy Moss to make plays for. As McDaniels tells WEEI's Christopher Price, he's really excited to have all this depth at receiver, once again.
"It's going to be an exciting thing for us to watch and see how it all develops, because we have some guys that can do some different things," McDaniels said Friday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
"I think that makes for great competition. I know every year, we talk about having great competition at every spot, and the receiver position is certainly going to be filled with that. We have a ton of guys here, working hard and making sure they're ready for [organized team activities] in the spring. We're going to give them all an opportunity. I don't think you want to assume too many things. Let them go back out there and demonstrate what they know, what they can do, what they can provide our team, and let the competition play out."
BRANDON LLOYD RECEIVES PRAISE FROM MCDANIELS
During his first media appearance since re-joining the Patriots as their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, McDaniels honed in on Brandon Lloyd specifically, a player he coached both in Denver and in St. Louis last season. Now that Lloyd is a Patriot, McDaniels says that he's ready to continue doing great things with the receiver.
"He's a guy I'm familiar with from the last few years," McDaniels said. "He gives us an outside receiver to compete with a lot of the guys that we have here.
"Brandon is certainly a guy who is familiar with our system, first of all. He understands what we ask of the receiver position. He's brought a skill set on the outside, on the perimeter, that has definitely been helpful to the offenses that I've had a part in the last few years," McDaniels added. "How he fits in, and what we end up doing with him along with the other receiving corps, we'll find out as we go through the spring and the summer. I'm excited to have an opportunity to coach him again."
MATT PATRICIA TAKING PROMOTION IN STRIDE
Another coach who took time to speak with the media on Friday was Matt Patricia, who was recently promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2012 season. Not a lot should change for Patricia however, as the longtime Patriot assistant has been calling the defensive plays last season.
However, the title of Defensive Coordinator doesn't mean a whole lot to Patricia, as it's all about just doing your job. He elaborated to to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss:
"Our jobs and our responsibilities on defense, they are what they are, it's not really anything about titles," said Patricia, who was the play-caller on game-day last year but without the title. "It's just everyone trying to do their job. It doesn't have anything to do with that.""As far as for myself, it will be very similar to how we operate and how we've been operating for a while. I don't really see anything changing, we're going to go out and coach the defense up with all the coaches that are out here and try to get those guys out on the field to perform to the best of their ability."