The Patriots signed free-agent Shayne Graham to replace a sidelined Stephen Gostkowski, who left the Browns game in the second quarter on Sunday, ESPNBoston.com reported yesterday. Graham has an 85.2 percent success rate over his career. The Patriots will have to make room on their 53-man roster for Graham, according to ESPN.
The Pats have also signed a long snapper, Matt Katula, to replace Jake Ingram, who's had struggles this year, including in last week's 34-14 loss to the Browns in which one of his long snaps bounced in front of punter Zoltan Mesko.
New England's third-down conversion rate has suffered since the team let go of wide receiver Randy Moss, reports ESPNBoston.com. In the first four games with Moss, the Patriots ranked first in the NFL with a 55.3 percentage. In the last four games sans Moss, the Pats have dropped to 33.3 percent, 25th in the NFL. Quarterback Tom Brady's third-down completion percentage has dropped from 70. 6 percent to 40.5 percent; his passer rating on third down: 124.4 to 56.5.
These poor stats have bled onto the NFL rankings, as well, which came out yesterday, reports the Boston Globe. The Patriots rank 20th in total yardage; defense ranks 29th out of 32 NFL teams. Perhaps most alarming: with an overall ranking of 24.5, the Patriots don't bode well for a conference championship. No team since 2001 has advanced with such a low rating.
The Globe does offer a silver lining, however. It makes a point to mention no team since 2001 advanced past its conference because the 2001 Patriots, who were almost a carbon copy of the current 2010 team, won the Super Bowl.
The Boston Herald spoke with Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker yesterday about his dealings in the aftermath of last season's knee injury.