Fellow WR Deion Branch didn't find the end zone but he did haul in six passes for 125 yards including a 63-yard catch-and-run.
When the Patriots released Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney earlier in the week, veteran wide receiver Deion Branch's spot on the final 53-man roster seemed secured. Turns out, that couldn't be farther from the truth: New England cut Branch as well as veteran center Dan Koppen and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and confirmed by NFL Network.
The move leaves the Pats thin at wideout; Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater remain on the roster, but there are of course the tight ends: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, the latter apparently now considered Tom Brady's favorite target.
Equally as surprising: New England's decision to move on from Hoyer, the former Michigan State QB signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009. But his $1.9 million price tag and the fact that second-year player Ryan Mallett played well enough to convince coaches that Hoyer was expendable helps shed some light on the move.
Koppen, meanwhile, has struggled with injuries this preseason, but he's also been New England's center since coming into the league in 2003. With the departures of Branch and Koppen, Tom Brady remains the lone player to take part in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX.
But turnover, no matter how painful or surprising, is part of the business. And coach Bill Belichick has always showed a ruthlessness in that regard. This year is no different. Also no different: the Pats are the favorites to win the division and represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. And it's not because Belichick got all sentimental when it came time to put the roster together (also not hurting: having Brady as your quarterback).