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On Saturday, free-agent wide receiver Joey Galloway agreed to a one-year contract with the New England Patriots. Although Galloway is 37 years old and was a nonfactor with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, this was a very good signing for the Patriots.
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|Wide receiver Joey Galloway caught just 13 passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008.|
Yes, Galloway caught a measly 13 passes in 2008. But he eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in each of the previous three seasons. Galloway did appear in nine games last season, but was rarely at full strength during those appearances. He fell out of favor in then-head coach Jon Gruden's offense and took a back seat to Antonio Bryant.
With a player his age, New England would be wise to limit his snaps and keep him fresh for the stretch run. Bill Belichick sees the big picture as well as any head coach and surely will see the value in limiting the wear and tear on Galloway's body. Obviously Randy Moss and Wes Welker are in place in this high-flying passing attack, but behind those two, New England had little that stirred excitement.
Galloway is not a long-term fix, obviously, and the Patriots very well could select a wideout with one of their four draft picks in the top two rounds. Galloway knows how to set up a defensive back, reads and reacts to coverages well and can threaten a defense at every level. He will be a good influence on a rookie wideout.
Galloway's best asset is still his home-run ability, a trait a healthy Tom Brady should exploit. Jeff Garcia, Galloway's quarterback last season, is not a strong-armed passer or much of a risk taker, preferring underneath routes. Even so, Galloway did average more than 17.0 yards per reception in each of the 2006 and 2007 seasons and has the run-after-the-catch explosion to take a short pass a long way.
In New England, Galloway is going to run a lot of streak and post routes -- and often against single coverage. The other teams in the AFC East are not particularly deep at the cornerback position. Galloway is still capable of abusing average cover men when he is healthy and fresh. Needless to say, Brady is not bashful about throwing the long ball and few do it as well. Expect big plays. This signing is just one more reason why I expect to see the Patriots back in a huge way in 2009.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.