Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Jabar Gaffney Article

"Times are hard, you're afraid to pay the fee
So you find yourself somebody, who can do the job for free."

Here's my latest submission to Patriots Insider. So far, this has been a great relationship, and even landed me a cover story with my Laurence Maroney article. My hope is that I get more of my stories on the site and create somewhat of a buzz about me and this site. Times could become somewhat hectic in the coming months though. I am due to start my insurance gig on Wednesday, I'm still in the market for a second job, I'm working game days with the Panthers, I just applied to become a Big Brother, and also, there's my college football tour I plan on taking. So, while I hope to keep updating this site as much as I can, it may become a little difficult. Also, I think I'm going to invest in a digital camera so I can document all of my journeys. While it's likely that I'll be a one-man band on these road trips, I believe that this is a great opportunity to meet people that I probably would never have seen or heard from before, so I'm really looking forward to that. Anyway, here is the article:

Lost In The Shuffle
While the Pats made a series of moves boosting their receiving core, Jabar Gaffney’s name is not getting mentioned as much as it did during the Pats’ playoff push last year.

“That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.” ~Shawshank Redemption

Randy Moss, Donté Stallworth, Wes Welker, Kelley Washington. These were the four heralded acquisitions made over the off-season to try and help Tom Brady, and the rest of the Patriots, get over the hump they experienced in Indianapolis last season, and get them back to the Super Bowl. However, one receiver, who is a holdover from last season, could be as valuable as any of those prized additions will prove to be.

Jabar Gaffney came to the Pats last year as a relative unknown. After a two season career at the University of Florida, where he recorded back-to-back 1,000 seasons, Gaffney was drafted by Houston with the 33rd overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. As a compliment to Andre Johnson, Gaffney played four seasons with the Texans, but never recorded more than 55 receptions or 650 yards despite having a double-digit average yards per catch three out of four years.

Gaffney then signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia last year, but was cut during the pre-season. The Pats picked Gaffney up in October, and promptly signed him to a two-year contract.

Gaffney played in eleven games, and started six of those contests. While Gaffney was back in the NFL, his number was not called very much at all in the regular season, as he was mostly used as a decoy on the outside. Fellow Gator Reché Caldwell was getting most of the attention from Brady, hauling in 61 receptions for 760 yards. However, Gaffney’s time to shine was fast approaching.

In the first playoff game of his NFL career, Gaffney stared in the Pats’ passing game, catching eight of Brady’s 22 completions for 104 yards. Gaffney showed a knack for going over the middle and making athletic catches, something that only Troy Brown could be relied on to make. With a new-found confidence in Gaffney, Brady targeted Gaffney in their next game at San Diego, to which Gaffney responded to with another 100-yard performance.

In the AFC Championship game against the Colts, the Pats cruised to an early first half lead, but Gaffney was not being looked to like he had been in the previous two playoff games, only getting one look and no receptions. Finally, in the second drive of the third quarter, #12 got Gaffney involved, hitting him for a first down to get the offense inside the five yard line. Then, Brady hit Gaffney in the back of the end zone on a remarkable scoring strike, highlighted by Gaffney amazingly gaining possession before getting pushed out of bounds, a play that was reviewed by the Colts, and upheld. The score was the final touchdown of the Pats’ season, as they went on to lose in a heartbreaker.

Throughout the game, Patriot receivers were not sure-handed whatsoever, which begs the question of why Jabar was not in the game plan as much as he was in the rest of the postseason?

Another question that lingers is why is Gaffney being pushed out of the receiving plans of this team? Sure, the receivers, on a whole, let down the Pats against Indy, but the fact remains that Gaffney, who is only 26, could be a big weapon in this offense. His ability to go over the middle is invaluable. Troy Brown, as crazy as this may sound, probably won’t be able to play forever, so Gaffney, who probably won’t be as versatile, would be able to line up opposite of Wes Welker in the slot in four or five wide receiver sets.

The hope is that not everything has been forgotten about what Jabar Gaffney did in last year’s postseason. Not by the fans, and more importantly, not by the organization. While the receiving core has been built up to extreme lengths, Gaffney has proven that he can play in this offense, and that given the opportunity, he can flourish.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am a bit of a new comer to game of football, however I have taken more than enough interest in the sport and the Patriots within the last two years. I liked the article and you are on point about Gaffney. The guy has talent he just needs more opportunity to show it.