Kisha's Korner: Veteran receivers leading the way
By Kisha Tapangan
Veteran receivers have not always found success in New England. Several
struggled with the offense including the likes of Joey Galloway and
Chad Johnson, who found their time as a Patriot cut short.
This year, it is the veteran receivers who are leaving the biggest
impressions at camp. Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney are planning
their comebacks as former Patriots and Brandon Lloyd is looking to make
an impression with his new beginning. These three aren't the only
veterans on the team as Wes Welker and Deion Branch are also working
towards another productive year.
Donte Stallworth isn't a stranger to the Patriots. He spent 2007 with
the team and compiled 46 receptions for 496 yards and three touchdowns.
Since then, Stallworth has had brief careers with the Cleveland Browns,
Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins.
At camp, Stallworth has been consistent, fast and surprisingly agile.
With Brandon Lloyd missing a few practice sessions, he's been given
more opportunities to stand out. Bill Belichick expressed praise about
the Stallworth's return to New England,
"He's shown a lot more leadership and he's a very professional athlete,
he really takes his job seriously and acts in a very professional way,"
Bill Belichick said, "He's a great example for all of us on a daily
basis. I would say that's definitely grown since he was here in '07."
Working together as a team to win is a major priority for the Patriots
and Stallworth understands this, "I just try to go out and help out the
young guys as much as I can, because I was once that guy," he said.
Before making his return to the Patriots, 11-year veteran Jabar Gaffney
had stints with the Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins. His
time with Redskins showed promise as he made 68 catches for 947 yards
and scored five touchdowns. It has been a few years since Gaffney has
caught a pass from Tom Brady but he's not too concerned,
"This is the offense that I've pretty much played in my whole career.
That part of it came back to me. Just getting the timing back down –
that stuff takes a little more time." With some of the impressive
catches he's made at camp, Gaffney is looking to make an impact on
Number 85 has a very different look to him in this year's training
camp. Veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd now wears the number that's been
made famous by Chad Johnson whose time with the Patriots ended abruptly
after only putting up 276 yards and single touchdown in all of the
The new and better 85 has already impressed the crowds at camp with
incredible catches but if you ask him about his chemistry with Brady,
Lloyd reassures that, "It just takes time," Lloyd explains, "We'll
continue to talk and work together, and see what one another is
expecting out of the route-running, then eventually just start
Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd have missed a few practice sessions -
both have returned since.
While it is too soon to say who will be Brady's favorite target, it
definitely makes for an interesting camp when one of the biggest
competitions is among those with the most experience.
Kisha Tapangan is contributing writer for Patriots
also manages the blog Necessary Roughness with Kisha.
She can also be found on twitter @KishaT.
Feel free to email her your thoughts here.
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