Notebook: Patriots Prep Without Moss

The Patriots have to move past the Randy Moss trade. Unfortunately that won't be so easy with the Baltimore Ravens coming to town. News and Notes from the bye week

The Patriots have denied a report that WR Randy Moss and QB Tom Brady nearly came to blows following an argument.

The report says Brady told Moss to cut his beard, to which Moss responded, "Cut your hair," before telling Brady his new haircut makes him look like a girl.

Said head coach Bill Belichick: "That's news to me."

Since the report, both Brady and Moss have denied the incident happened.

"No, certainly not. I don't know why these things come about, but they do," Brady said of the altercation on WEEI earlier this week. "I think it's just a competitive media culture out there now," said Brady. "I love Randy [Moss] as a person, as a player. I don't think I've ever had an altercation with a teammate."

--While the bye week deflected some of the fallout from the Randy Moss trade, several Patriots weighed in on the deal, including LB Tully Banta-Cain.

"I think he has his reasons. Everybody is entitled to their reasons," Banta-Cain said when asked about head coach Bill Belichick's decision to pull the trigger. "He did what he felt like he had to do. I'm just a player. I do my job. It says on the front of the door to come in here and do your job. That's all I really can do. I can't speak on anybody's situation."

With Moss playing against the Jets on Monday night, Banta-Cain added that "It's good that it did happen now as opposed to leading into the Baltimore game because it has already kind of caused somewhat of a distraction. We'll be rooting for him."

NOTES
--QB Tom Brady might no longer have his most dangerous weapon following the Randy Moss trade, but with Moss through the first month, the former MVP was on pace for the second-best season of his career in terms of passer rating and touchdowns.
--RB Fred Taylor (toe) has seemingly gone in the wrong direction in terms of health. Though limited in previous weeks with the injury, Taylor didn't make the Week 4 trip to Miami to take on the Dolphins and was unable to practice during the bye week. Taylor continues to miss practice this week.
--RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis hit the bye with the two best performances of his young career, totaling 16 carries each for 98 and 76 yards in wins over the Bills and Dolphins, respectively. Green-Ellis leads New England with 215 yards on 47 attempts through four games.
--TE Aaron Hernandez is off to a fast start in New England. He leads the team with 240 receiving yards and is second with 18 receptions. Hernandez has also made the most of his opportunities, with his 18 catches coming on 20 passes thrown his way by Tom Brady.
--WR Julian Edelman, a second-year converted college quarterback, has been a forgotten man early in 2010 with just four catches for 14 yards in four games. Edelman ranks seventh on the team in receptions this fall after tying for third on the team with 37 receptions as a rookie a year ago.
--WR Wes Welker's 26 receptions through four games have him on pace for a fourth consecutive 100-catch season, which would tie Marvin Harrison's NFL record.
--WR Deion Branch returns to the Patriots after four-plus disappointing seasons in Seattle. Branch has 13 receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown this season. He never had more than 53 catches or four touchdowns in his four full seasons with the Seahawks. His best NFL season came in the final year of his first tour of duty with New England in 2005, when the team's former second-round pick caught 78 passes for 998 yards and five touchdowns.
--S Patrick Chung ranks second on the New England roster with 36 tackles, and he leads the team with a pair of interceptions (one returned for a touchdown against Miami). He also blocked both a punt and a field goal in the Week 4 win over Miami.
--ILB Jerod Mayo had 17 tackles against the Dolphins, the second-highest single-game total of his career. Mayo, who leads New England with 46 tackles in four games, had 23 tackles in a game against the Jets as a rookie in 2008.
--LB Tracy White, a veteran special teamer acquired at the end of training camp, may be one of the least recognizable Patriots, but he's clearly doing his job by leading the squad with seven special teams tackles through four games.
--OLB Rob Ninkovich is a first-time starter in his fifth season, but he is taking advantage of the playing time. Beyond recording his first two career interceptions in Week 4 at Miami, Ninkovich also has a sack and a fumble recovery to go along with 16 tackles as well as three special teams stops.
--CB Terrence Wheatley (foot) was absent from both of New England's practices during the bye week, although he's spoken openly of late about getting closer to a return to action. Wheatley has returned to practice this week.
--DL Mike Wright missed both practices during the bye week with an unknown injury.

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