Posted September 06, 2012 on AP on Fox
Updates. With AP Photos. By HOWARD ULMAN AP Sports Writer The New England Patriots have a quarterback, tight end and wide receiver who are among the best at their positions in the NFL. Add Brandon Lloyd to that rich mix, and the passing game should be even better than the one that took them to the Super Bowl last season. Right? ''We'll see,'' Lloyd said. In the preseason, the Patriots' new deep threat displayed little of what he can do, catching just one pass for 12 yards. That was one more reception than Wes Welker, who led the league with 122 last season. And Rob Gronkowski caught only five passes in those games. Of course, the stars often play sparingly in August. Tom Brady sat out two of the four games and played only two series in another. So even though history strongly suggests another outstanding passing attack - especially with Lloyd signing as a free agent - the first real test comes Sunday in the season opener at Tennessee. ''I'm excited to see how we all come together and are able to make plays,'' Lloyd said Wednesday. ''By me saying, `we'll see,' it's a fair statement because we all haven't been out getting live action yet.'' They should make quite a few plays with Brady starting his 13th NFL season. He threw for 5,235 yards in 2011, the second most in league history. In 2010, he was the NFL's most valuable player and in 2009, he was the comeback player of the year. But what about the unknown portion of this group, and the chemistry - or lack thereof - because of the light preseason regimen? ''You don't know, but you have confidence that you can do it when it matters,'' Brady said. ''Everything needs to be proven. It's not like the predictions you make on Wednesday all come true.'' Welker may not reach his 122-catch total of last season. Gronkowski might fall short of his 90. And tight end Aaron Hernandez could end up with fewer than his 79. ''When a guy like Wes has 122 catches, a lot of times the coverage dictated that the ball go to Wes,'' Brady said. ''Now if they choose to tighten the coverage on Wes, then the ball goes somewhere else. So it's just a matter of trying to evaluate what they're trying to do defensively and try to make a good decision at quarterback in order to get the ball to the guy that should get it.'' During the preseason, nine wide receivers, four tight ends and six running backs caught passes. Of those 19 players, only eight are still on the roster. The time is past when the Patriots try out some plays and give an opportunity to players to show whether they deserve a roster spot. Now, everything counts and the regulars play most of the game. ''It's for real. It's go time,'' Gronkowski said. ''Everyone's out there. There's no messing around. (There's) not someone just trying to try out the play or anything. It's all go. Every play counts.'' Even coach Bill Belichick is wondering how those plays will work out, despite watching his players during training camp with a careful eye. ''I don't think you know anything right now,'' he said. ''It just hasn't been tested under fire. Things you think are going to be good may not be that great. Things that you're worried about, might be OK. I think that's what opening day, that's really what that's about. Preseason, teams aren't game-planning for you, you don't see the matchups. It's just not the same.'' The Patriots were 1-3 and scored only six touchdowns. The Titans were 3-1 and scored 10. Neither team, of course, showed everything it can do during those games. And at the same time, they did some things they won't do on Sunday. That only complicates the opponent's preparation. ''You have to deal with what you've seen because that's what they're working on,'' Brady said, ''and you have to deal with things that could come up because you understand that they're probably holding some things back.'' He might have been more comfortable if the Patriots hadn't cut three players he had worked closely with for years. Wide receiver Deion Branch, center Dan Koppen and quarterback Brian Hoyer were released last Friday when teams trimmed down to the regular-season limit of 53 players. ''In some ways, you become a bit desensitized to it,'' Brady said. ''It's not my decision, so I can't really think about it too much other than supporting your friends and what they're going through. But it's not like I can go in and lobby for guys.'' He learned that early in his career. ''I think you realize at a young age that you really don't know what you don't know. So you see guys in the springtime that have great spring camps,'' he said. ''I remember my second year, we had a receiver, Aaron Bailey, that was pretty good. I thought, `Man, this guy is really good,' and then we released him and I couldn't believe it. `Man, we released that guy. He's the one that made all the plays.' ''That's just what happens. You see a lot of players come and go and you just learn to deal with it.'' On Sunday, he'll do it in in his 11th straight season-opening start. ''You can make a bunch of predictions, but it really doesn't matter because you have to go out there and prove it,'' Brady said. ''You say, `How prepared are we?' or `How prepared are we to this point?' Well, we'll know Sunday afternoon at about 4:00. We'll see if all the work that we put in is really going to pay off.'' --- Online: and

Tom Brady vs. the NFL | Sean Glennon

Tom Brady vs. the NFL | Sean Glennon: New Patriots book alert!!!

The Story Behind The ‘Brady Swallows’ Shirt Incident At Erie Community College

You know what’s funny this week at Erie Community College in Buffalo? The t-shirt incident that took place between a friend of Busted Coverage and this woman rocking the Tom Brady #12. That’s our friend, Andrew, in the Brady Swallows shirt. He got up that morning, threw on his Brady Swallows shirt and busted ass to class. What happened next will go down in Erie C.C. school lore...

NFL Week 1 Power Rankings

The NFL regular season finally starts this Wednesday when the Dallas Cowboys meet the New York Giants in an early and intriguing NFC East match-up. With the start of the new season now upon us, I thought this would be a great time to institute the inaugural iSportsWeb NFL Power Rankings. Read on and let the debates rage. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers start the season at...


Just in time for football season and Fall’s fashion debut, UGG Australia is releasing its latest UGG for Men campaign featuring New England Patriots QB, Tom Brady. It’s all part of the brand’s continued efforts to increase male awareness, as the company’s iconic sheepskin boots have often associated with the female crowd. Brady continues his reign as the face of the men...

Can Tom Brady And The Patriots Live Up To The Fantasy Hype?

As if Tom Brady didn't have it good enough.  The guy has multiple Super Bowl rings, a supermodel wife, millions in the bank, and a head of hair that makes Matt Hasselbeck green with envy.  For those of you who still believe that life is fair and that nothing this good lasts forever, I’m sorry to inform you that things have actually gotten better for Brady in the last year...

Five Predictions To Kickoff Patriots Season

Will Brandon Lloyd become another 1,000 yard receiver for Tom Brady and the Patriots Offense? With the 2012 NFL regular season officially underway, rosters are set and new stars are ready to be born.  For every emerging star, however, comes a player who won’t live up to expectations and takes a step back from their previous success.  Each team across the league will experience...

Because time-lapse videos are timeless… Even more so, when...

Because time-lapse videos are timeless… Even more so, when Jets fans are forced to look at a 225 foot painted mural of handsome Tom Brady wearing the UGG for Men “Hannen” boot on the corner of West 34th Street and 8th Avenue. Rex Ryan might even drive by one day in his clown car.

Vote: Who Should Be the Patriots Third Wide Receiver This Season?

When the Patriots took the field to open up training camp at Gillette Stadium a few weeks back, Tom Brady had a bevy of options on the outside. A little over a month later, though, and the cupboard appears to be pretty bare. With the release of veteran wideouts like Donte' Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney and now even the beloved Deion Branch, there doesn't appear to be much depth...

PFW says Grigson "rolled the dice" with Davis trade

Pro Football Weekly says that Vontae Davis has some risks, but things may be looking brighter for him in Indianapolis:  A source on the scene in Miami for Davis’ first three seasons said he isn’t a bad kid, nor did he habitually make mistakes with the Dolphins; rather, he was a young player who had occasional run-ins and whose focus and work ethic was a problem at times. According...

2012 NFL Kickoff Weekend: Patriots @ Titans

Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans will host Brady and the high-octane Patriot offense at LP Field – 1:00 PM EST. The 2012 NFL Regular Season has finally arrived. Congratulations Patriot fans, we survived another offseason of bitterness and officially closed the door with a Giants loss two nights ago. Tom Brady and company will travel down to Tennessee in week one to take on...

The Chronicles of The Gronk: Episode 1

7/10/2012 – The New England Patriots Weight Room Aaron Hernandez:  I’m tellin’ ya, Tom.  I really think I’m going to have a break out season this year.  I know Rob gets all the hype, but I think if you start looking my way more often, I could really surprise some people. Tom Brady:  Huh? Ohh, umm, that’s nice Aaron. Hernandez:  Seriously dude, I mean it.  I really...

Predictions for 2012 NFL Season

Some of the greatest and best known prophets have more often been wrong than right.  Take the famous Nostradamus for example.  It’s kind of like a weatherman.  You can predict and forecast the weather but their wrong all the time.  I’ve been caught in the rain countless times because my local weatherman can’t read the Doppler radar.  Now they just say there’s a chance...

AP Pro32 comments about Patriots

Comments on the New England Patriots by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses): --- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2) Chris Berman (ESPN, 2) - After all, Patriots are defending AFC champs. Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 4) - Can never be overlooked. However, offensive line issues may mess up Super Bowl plans, along with Brady's hair. Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 2) - Belichick...
Patriots News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.