FOXBORO (CBS) — The Patriots looked like they needed some receiving help in their Week 2 win over the Jets, and a report Sunday morning said that Tom Brady was turning to some old friends.
NFL.com’s Michael Silver and Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the quarterback has been “calling & texting Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd, gauging their availability.”
However, following the Patriots’ 23-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady denied reaching out to the former Pats receivers.
“No, I haven’t talked to those guys in a while,” Brady said. “I love both of them, they’re good friends and great teammates but I haven’t talked to either one of them in a while.”
Rapoport tweeted early Sunday that “Deion Branch has told Tom Brady he’s ready whenever, hanging in Kentucky. Brandon Lloyd isn’t yet. But he is acting in zombie movies.”
The last comment is in reference to Lloyd’s latest career venture, acting in a straight-to-DVD film titled “After Effect,” which stars Daniel Baldwin (plenty of more info on that film is right here). Last season, in his one year in New England, Lloyd had 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile Branch, 34, remains a free agent. He played in 10 games last year for the Patriots, catching just 16 passes for 145 yards and zero touchdowns.
Despite the major drop-off from the days when Branch produced at a reasonably high level, what Brady would seek in Branch is simply a veteran who knows the playbook and won’t make mental mistakes. Brady was visibly upset with his young receiving corps in Week 2 vs. the Jets, and with a Rob Gronkowski return date still unknown, and with Danny Amendola dealing with what sounds like a pretty serious groin injury, the idea was that Brady was feeling as though the time is now to add a reinforcement or two.
The outlook may change after Week 3, when Brady and his receivers connected much more often in the 20-point victory. Brady finished with 225 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Kenbrell Thompkins caught two of those touchdowns, and Aaron Dobson recovered from his week of drops with seven catches for 52 yards, both team highs.