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Replay: Best of the Week on Radio Thu Jun 20 - 02:00 PM | Tue Jun 25 - 09:55 AM News Blitz - 11/10/2010

In today's News Blitz... Pats get new kicker and long snapper, numbers suffer in the absence of Moss and Welker works through his knee.

The Patriots signed free-agent Shayne Graham to replace a sidelined Stephen Gostkowski, who left the Browns game in the second quarter on Sunday, ** 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.

Read more about Katula on ** and on **. Find similar stories on Shayne Graham in the *Boston Herald* and in the *Boston Globe*.

New England's third-down conversion rate has suffered since the team let go of wide receiver Randy Moss, reports **. 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.

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