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March 19, 2012

Sound Pats philosophy: Load the gun

There simply isn't much uproar, coming off a Super Bowl-losing season. Well, maybe just a murmur.

But anyone angered by the New England Patriots' free-agency silence early last week has to be satisfied this morning.

Bill Belichick stockpiled more weapons for Tom Brady's career stretch run — a sound strategy if there ever was one — over the weekend, snagging Indy's Anthony Gonzalez and the well-traveled Brandon Lloyd.

Gonzalez and Lloyd, a pair of proven pass-catchers, join Wes Welker — at least for this year — and tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski as top options for Brady.

Talk about an instant upgrade over Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco for Brady to work with. Both vets could also be back, as Ochocinco remains under contract, but the fact that each would be waging battle for the 4 or 5 receiver spots, instead of the 2 or 3, has to make Brady and most Pats fans ecstatic.

Lloyd's deal is reported by NFL.com to be three years for $12 million, while the oft-injured Gonzalez is much more of a bargain basement-type deal.

Either way, it's help for Brady, who at 35, has had to deal with limited weapons much of the time since 2005.

It's not your money. Fear not about cap space. And remember, the Patriots again have a stockpile of draft picks to build strength in the trenches and find help on an often exploited defense.

Lloyd hadn't even agreed to the deal before at least one Boston football writer dug into his past to find whether or not he was a good person. Remember, New England is the sixth home in Lloyd's 10 pro seasons.

No longer a kid at 30, Lloyd has produced best under one person, Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The key number is 16 TDs in 27 games. New England has desperately needed an outside guy to score since Randy Moss spiralled his way out of here.

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