|The Patriots dealt with Champ Bailey last year by choosing not to deal with him at all. (US Presswire)|
Teams around the league have spent the last decade trying to figure out the best way to beat Champ Bailey. Well, the New England Patriots may have finally found the key: Don't, under any circumstances, throw the ball at him.
In two meetings with the Broncos last season, the Patriots threw a grand total of one pass in his direction, instead choosing to focus their efforts on Andre Goodman (16 targets, now a free agent) and Chris Harris (15 targets).
So for those expecting to get a look at the battles that used to play out in practice between Bailey and now-Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, don't hold your breath.
“I'm sure the coaching staff's going to do a good job of mixing up the routes and the combinations we're doing out there,” Lloyd said.
That's too bad, because according to Lloyd, his battles behind the scenes with Bailey were some of the best of his career.
"I learned a lot from him from a technique standpoint – catching, finishing the play – because Champ is one of the only cornerbacks I've gone against where the play is never over," Lloyd said. "You can even catch the ball, and if you're not bringing it in and if you're not protecting it, he'll find a way to get it out."
Jones honored: Defensive end Chandler Jones was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for his play in September. The first-round pick recorded 17 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, three quarterback hits and 10 hurries.
Bolden keeping level head: Brandon Bolden has become one of the most talked about members of the Patriots this week after rushing for 137 yards against the Bills, but he isn't listening. The undrafted rookie said that he's put the game behind him and has moved on to Denver.
"Blinders. Not worry about last week," Bolden said. "Last week happened, now we're getting ready for Denver, we have them coming here. Just forget about it. It was a game, see it, yeah, yay, yippie, everybody was happy. It happened, it's in the past, and now we're moving on."
Hernandez back; Brady, Gronk still limited: TE Aaron Hernanez returned to practice in a limited capacity for the first since rolling his ankle in a Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It remains unlikely that he will play Sunday against Denver. TE Rob Gronkowski (hip) and QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) were also limited.
Did Not Participate: WR Julian Edelman (hand), S Steve Gregory (hip), CB Ras-I Dowling (non-injury related). Limited: RB Brandon Bolden (knee), QB Tom Brady (right shoulder), DE Brandon Deaderick (ankle), DT Justin Francis (ankle), TE Rob Gronkowski (hip), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Dont'a Hightower (hamstring)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion), G Logan Mankins (calf/hip), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), CB Sterling Moore (knee), RB Shane Vereen (foot), OT Sebastian Vollmer (back). Full: DT Kyle Love (knee).