Reciever Doug Gabriel was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Oakland Raiders in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice on Sept. 2. Gabriel would have likely started this season in a receiving corps that includes Randy Moss, Alvis Whitted and Jerry Porter – he started two games for the Raiders last season. Gabriel caught 37 passes for 554 yards and three touchdowns in 2005, recording two other career touchdowns in 2004. He was previously with the Raiders for three seasons.
He saw action against the Jets, and was in during the third quarter of Sunday's game, but Gabriel didn't record his first reception in a Patriots uniform until the first drive of the fourth quarter. The catch earned the Patriots 13 yards and a first-down. Three receptions later, Gabriel caught an 8-yarder for a touchdown.
"You feel like you are always in it," said Gabriel of his feeling after the touchdown catch. "You never count yourself out. That is one thing I like about this team. We never count ourselves out and I love it. We just keep it going. We are going to do that all year and I love it. We are never out of a game."
He caught six passes for 65 yards (10.8 avg) during the fourth quarter of the game and wasn't disappointed that he didn't get in earlier.
"No, not actually. They come back to the sideline and I tell them what I see," said Gabriel after the game. "I'm a team player and I tell them what I see and what we should look out for."
Asked in his press conference on Monday why Gabriel didn't play earlier, Belichick responded, "I think where we were from our depth standpoint at that position, that there weren't too many players in the position to go all the way."
Belichick also seemed to imply that Gabriel is ahead of rookie Chad Jackson. Asked why Jackson didn't suit, Belichick said, "We felt we put our best 45 out there. That's the 45 that were active, that's what we felt those were for this particular game."
Brady was asked about Gabriel after the game, saying, "He did some good things out there and he is going to really help our offense. It was good to have him out there and have him make a play. He was fighting a few injuries the last few weeks. That shows his toughness and competitiveness to come out there and play the way he did. So it was good."
Gabriel had been listed as 'Probable' with a hamstring injury earlier in the week.
As to whether or not Gabriel will have a bigger role earlier in next Sunday's game at Cincinnati, Belichick said Monday, "I don't know we haven't done the game plan on Cincinnati. I don't know exactly how all that's going to work itself out. We'll have to see how it goes."
Gostkowski sees double trouble
After beating out Martin Gramatica to become Adam Vinatieri's replacement this season, kicker Stephen Gostkowski got off to a good start. However, he has missed his last two field goal attempts on blocks, one against the Jets and one against the Broncos.
Holder Josh Miller said he told Gostkowski to shake off the block against the Jets, reminding him that it was on target. However, in his press conference today, Belichick said he thought the second blocked field goal had too low a trajectory.
"I think the ball came out low," said Belichick. "Yeah, that was part of the problem. There were other problems too."
Asked how much of it was field-related, Belichick responded, "I don't know. I think there were a lot of factors involved in the play. I don't know what percentage was what."
It looked like Gostkowski's planted foot slipped a little as he began his kick and Belichick said he thought he saw that on the tape as well.
Quote of Note:
"Right now I really couldn't care less about China or anyplace else. Cincinnati is the only destination I'm really concerned with right now. I don't really care about anything else right now. That stuff is so far in the future, I don't if China will be there a year from now. I don't know if I'll be there a year from now, so. Right now all I care about is Cincinnati and believe me, that's plenty." – Coach Belichick in response to a question about the China Bowl, to be played between the Patriots and Seahawks on Aug. 8, 2007 in Beijing.
Notes:There was no practice today, and the Patriots won't be practicing tomorrow either, according to Belichick. Not surprisingly, there weren't many players available in the locker room today, and of the who were there, few spoke. While many players fill their lockers with clutter like Febreze, crumpled papers, memorabilia from college teams, drink bottles – Lonie Paxton has a whole mini-fridge in his locker – and things to make them look and smell good after a tough day of practice, veteran Don Davis' locker looks a little different. Always keeping it clean, Davis also uses his shelf as a bookcase. Texts with visible spines include Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus.