Patriots Notebook: Maroney, Mankins, Brady...

News and notes on the Patriots from earlier this week. Laurence Maroney is gone, Logan Mankins may be also, Tom Brady was fortunate not o be injured and more

Maroney Moves On
--Running back Laurence Maroney didn't know his place in New England, almost from the time he arrive as a first-round pick in 2006. Now, he does -- he was traded by the Patriots to the Broncos for a mid-round pick on Tuesday. Maroney was inactive in Week 1, when Fred Taylor led the team with 71 rushing yards. He has played in 45 of 65 career games.

In Denver, Maroney will work under Josh McDaniels, the former Patriots' offensive coordinator hired to be the Broncos' head coach last season. New England will also give up a late-round pick in the trade. Maroney is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Clearing The Air?
--In an attempt to clear the air regarding the Logan Mankins mess, Patriots owner Robert Kraft appeared on WEEI 850 AM in Boston on Monday and said Mankins and the team were never close to signing a contract extension.

"I hate violating a private conversation but I think it's worthy because it speaks to this issue," Kraft said. "I got a call three weeks ago, maybe, from Logan and he apologized to me for the comments he made in the public media. He said he regretted he did it. He knew in retrospect they weren't true and I accepted his apology because he's a very high quality guy.

"I also said, 'Logan it would be nice if that was made public because I'm hoping we do a deal with you and I don't want people to think that the way you do a deal is to say something that is not true or involve ownership.'"

Close Call For Brady?
--Speaking Monday on WEEI 850 AM in Boston, Patriots QB Tom Brady said he was "scared out of my mind" after getting into an automobile last week before the season opener against Cincinnati.

"I'm telling you, when it happened, I didn't even know what to do, because you're just in shock," Brady said. "I was kind of sitting there in the car, looking around, trying to get my bearings."

Brady went on to practice later that day and then threw three touchdown passes in Sunday's opening win over the Bengals.

Improving The Record
--The Patriots improved to a perfect 9-0 at Gillette Stadium in home openers following Sunday's win.

New England has won its home opener in each season since moving into Gillette Stadium in 2002 and has won 14 of its last 16 home openers overall.

The Patriots have also won seven consecutive times on Kickoff Weekend. New England is now 60-13 (.822) all-time at Gillette Stadium (including the playoffs, which is the best home record in the NFL since the facility opened in 2002).

PLAYER NOTES
--QB Tom Brady opened the season with three touchdown passes against Cincinnati and New England improved to 21-3 in games in which he throws for three scores.
--RB Fred Taylor had a solid opening effort in his 13th season, going for a game-high 71 yards on just 14 carries in the win over the Bengals.
--RB Kevin Faulk, one of New England's captains, was his usual productive self in the opener as he was second on the Patriots with 23 yards rushing on just three carries while tying for third on the team with four catches for another 47 yards.
--TE Rob Gronkowski caught just one pass in his NFL debut, but it was also his first pro TD coming from a yard out in the fourth quarter.
--WR Wes Welker tied a career high with a pair of touchdowns in the win over the Bengals, coming from 4 and 9 yards out in the first half. Welker also was on the receiving end of New England's first offensive play, a 5-yard gain, on the way to eight catches for 64 yards on the day. This in his regular-season return after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in last season's finale.
--WR Randy Moss caught five passes for 59 yards in the opener, then went on the verbal offensive in postgame with a 16-minute soliloquy and interview with the media. Boil it down and the news of the day from Moss was that he wants a contract extension from New England before the end of the season. Moss said anything after that "would be a smack in my face."
--TE Aaron Hernandez also had just a single catch in his NFL debut, but like his rookie partner in crime Rob Gronkowski made the reception count. Hernandez took advantage of a blown coverage in the first quarter on a 45-yard catch-and-run that helped set up New England's opening touchdown.
--S Patrick Chung was all over the field in his first NFL start. The second-year former second-round pick had a game-high 16 tackles, including 12 solo stops.
--OLB Tully Banta-Cain, who led New England with 10 sacks last fall, split the Patriots only sack of the opener with defensive lineman Myron Pryor.
--OLB Marques Murrell saw reserve action in the opener and finished with a solo tackle. But the production wasn't enough as the first-year Patriot was released the day after the game to make room on the roster for T Quinn Ojinnaka, who was suspended for the opener.
--OLB Rob Ninkovich notched his first career forced fumble and fumble recovery on the same play, knocking the ball free from Bengals running back Cedric Benson during the opening day win.

This report courtesy of The Sports Xchange

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