Gaffney a camp standout
By Daniel Malloy and Mike Reiss, Globe Staff | July 30, 2007
FOXBOROUGH -- Just in case anyone forgot his pair of 100-yard receiving performances in the Patriots' first two playoff games last season, Jabar Gaffney has reminded record training camp crowds that the Patriots did, in fact, have wide receivers before this past offseason.
Getting reps opposite newcomers Randy Moss and Wes Welker -- free agent pickup Donte' Stallworth is on the physically unable to perform list and hasn't practiced -- Gaffney has made several nice catches, adding to the robust competition at receiver.
"He's that steady guy who time after time is doing a great job," Welker said. "He knows all the positions in the offense, a smart player."
Gaffney, who signed with the Patriots last October after spending four seasons with the Texans and failing to hook on with the Eagles in training camp, had time to pick up the offense and mesh with quarterback Tom Brady last year, and by the playoffs he was in a groove.
Against the Jets he caught eight passes for 104 yards, and followed it up a week later with 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. But those accomplishments have been overshadowed by the offseason acquisitions at wideout. With 12 receivers at camp, every day has become a battle.
"Whatever happened last year, playoffs and all that, is done and everybody's starting with a clean slate now," Gaffney said. "I like competition, and we definitely have a lot of competition at wide receiver. It just makes you play your best every day."
Gaffney said he sees plenty of things to work on when watching himself on film, but he has shone so far in camp. Though the Patriots brought in receivers with nice resumes, the practice field is a crucial place in the eyes of coach Bill Belichick.
"Coach Bill emphasizes every day that you have to come out here and earn your spot, earn your role on the team," Gaffney said. "And this is where you do it -- training camp. So everything you've done in the past is gone. It don't matter how many Pro Bowls or whatever you've done, it's what you're doing right now."
source: http://www.boston.com/sports/football/p ... _standout/