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New-look Patriots offense moving on without Moss, Brady says

  • By Associated Press
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady isn't sure how the New England Patriots' offense will change or opposing defenses will play now that Randy Moss is gone.

The quarterback does know he's tired of talking about the wide receiver's departure.

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After answering six questions Wednesday about the Patriots' trade of Moss to the Minnesota Vikings one week earlier, Brady was asked a seventh: Did something stop working to cause Moss to get traded?

"I've moved on. We all have," Brady said in his first group interview since the deal. "I really don't want to talk about it anymore."

Brady preferred to talk about the wide receivers who remain and the return of Deion Branch, who was traded back to New England on Monday four years after the Patriots sent him to the Seattle Seahawks.

"The relationship I have with Deion on the field has always been a great one. There's always been a natural chemistry," Brady said. "I hope that we'll be able to rely back on that a little bit."

The Patriots will face a tough opponent Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens visit Gillette Stadium. Brady will attack the NFL's third-best defense without a receiver with a proven ability to stretch the field. Three of his top four wide receivers -- Branch, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman -- specialize in intermediate routes.

Brady doesn't mind, as long as they produce.

"If it's dink and dunk and score touchdowns, I'm fine with dinking and dunking," he said. "Whether it's a deep throw or short throw, you don't go into the game plan thinking, 'OK, we're just going to throw a bunch of 2-yard passes. You're going to stretch the field, and if we have guys open, we're going to try to take advantage.'"

Moss had three touchdown catches of 34, 7 and 35 yards with the Patriots this season. Welker also has three, covering 9, 4 and 6 yards. Branch's only touchdown catch this season in Seattle was a 3-yarder.

But Branch was the MVP in the Patriots' 2005 Super Bowl victory. Then he led the team with 78 receptions the next season, his last before being traded to Seattle after four seasons with New England.

"He was a really dynamic player for us in our offense and had really played big in so many big games," said Brady, who took the loss of Branch hard. "We had spent a lot of time together trying to get to know each other. Right when we were starting to get all warmed up and lathered up, he got sent to Seattle.

"It's good to have him back, and I think, hopefully, we can do some of those same things he was doing for us before."

But the offensive system has changed "quite a bit" since Branch last played in it, Brady said, so the transition won't be easy.

"I said, 'Do you remember a lot?' (He said) 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it. I know it,'" Brady said. "And I said, 'OK, what's this?' (He said), 'I don't know that one.'

"I said, 'That was one of the ones you should have known, because I haven't even gotten to the stuff you don't know yet.'"

Still, Brady is confident Branch will learn quickly.

"He's a real smart guy, a real smart player," Brady said. "I don't think it's going to take him too long, hopefully before Sunday."

Moss' behavior was questioned even before he was traded. He appeared at the team's Kickoff Gala and sat alone wearing headphones instead of at a table with fans and autograph seekers who paid money to sit with him. Then, after the Patriots' season-opening victory, Moss spoke for 16 minutes about his dissatisfaction with not having a contract after this season. That drew criticism that continued after his trade.

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"I didn't follow any of it," Brady told reporters. "I know what I said. I know I wouldn't bash him. I don't think any of our teammates were bashing him. Were you guys bashing him? I wasn't."

But was Moss a negative influence in the Patriots' locker room?

"No," Brady said. "Not at all."

How about the CBS report on a Sunday pregame show that he and Moss went "toe-to-toe" in a confrontation in which Brady supposedly told Moss to shave his beard and Moss responded by telling Brady to cut his long hair?

"He and I get along great, and we always have since the day he got here," Brady said. "He's never made fun of my hair, when everyone else seems to want to make fun of my hair, but he never has."

Then Brady cut off any further questions about Moss and talked about the clean-shaven Branch.

"Deion is here now (and) has some different strengths than Randy," Brady said. "Randy can certainly do things well, but so can other guys."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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