POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 04, 2012
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. >> The Josh McDaniel pipeline is alive and well.
The New England Patriots added another receiver with ties to the offensive coordinator this weekend, hoping to bolster a corps that suddenly looks thin after three established veterans were released.
Greg Salas was acquired from the St. Louis Rams on Saturday for an undisclosed future draft pick. Salas was taken by the Rams in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Hawaii and played in six games for the Rams last season, finishing with 27 receptions for 269 yards before a leg injury ended his season. McDaniels was the team’s offensive coordinator last season before rejoining the Patriots for the playoffs.
The trade followed the release of veterans Donte’ Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney and Deion Branch, although the Patriots might bring back Branch after the first game.
Salas joins veterans Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater.
“I play hard and I’m here to do anything the team asks me to do,” Salas said.
He has played both in the slot and wide, giving the Patriots depth behind Welker and Lloyd, respectively.
Salas was asked about the challenge of joining a team one week before the first game after spending the entire training camp elsewhere.
“Just refreshing myself with the material and concentrating on everything about the team,” Salas said.
“He’s got some versatility and we’ll put him out there and see how it goes,” coach Bill Belichick said.
Belichick said Salas was productive both at UH and with the Rams until his injury, and that McDaniels’ firsthand experience with him also played a role in the deal.
“We had a good feel for him before Josh was here just based on our scouting department and working him out and getting ready for the draft and all that,” he said. “Of course Josh spent some time with him, so that was some additional input.”
The retooled Patriots offensive line will also be in the spotlight Sunday. Newly arrived center/guard Matt Tennant, obtained on waivers from New Orleans on Saturday, practiced again Monday and might be ready for the opener at Tennessee.
“He’s been here one day and he’s working at it,” said Belichick. “Players will be off tomorrow, so that will give him a day to catch up. I think some of the things that they did in New Orleans are similar to what we did, but I’m sure there are plenty of differences, too. He’s a smart guy and he’s got some experience in the league, so we’ll give it to him and see how quickly he can grasp it.”
New starting center Ryan Wendell, one of four players who handled the position last year when Dan Koppen was injured in the first game, said much of what he knows about the position he gleaned from playing alongside Koppen.
New England released Koppen last week.
Wendell said playing behind Koppen for the last several years has been a “great learning experience on how to be a pro. Being a pro is a lot more than about what you do on Sundays.”