Tom Brady won't have Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola against the Buccaneers on Sunday but help could come as next week. Gronk is expected to return then, giving the Patriotsoffense something it hasn't had all season: A downfield playmaker. And that development should offset the Pats' lack of experience at wide receiver, right?
Actually, no, at least according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, who reported Sunday morning that Brady's been on the horn trying to convince former teammates to come out of retirement.
"The Patriots' brass may believe they are set at wide receiver but Tom Brady does not," Rapoport said on NFL GameDay Morning. "We're told that Brady himself has been calling and texting two familiar faces: Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd. As far as Branch, he's sitting ready for whenever the Patriots call. Lloyd, however, has said that he's not quite ready to play football."
To be fair, Lloyd has been busy acting in a zombie movie with Daniel Baldwin, so it's reasonable to think that he's not in football shape.
As for the active wideouts on the Pats' roster, only Julian Edelman (a former college quarterback, by the way) played in the NFL prior to this season. Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce are all rookies, and they've looked like it. Boyce has yet to make a catch and Dobson and Thompkins have accounted for nine receptions between them over the first two games.
But it's been the dropped passes and wrong routes that have truly frustrated Brady, who admitted after a sloppy Week 2 win over the Jets that "I have to do a better job with my body language. I definitely can improve that. I wouldn't say it's a real strong point of mine right now. We'll just try to keep doing better. That's what we've got to do.”
No idea if Branch or Lloyd are in the Pats' near-term plans, but we wonder if Josh Gordon might be. The talented second-year receiver for the Browns is on the trading block, and it's not like coach Bill Belichick is afraid to take a chance on a troubled player with unlimited potential.