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Sports

August 1, 2008

Gaffney, Jackson lead possible replacements for Stallworth

FOXBORO — Take one brief glance at the Patriots starting offense and something looks hazy.

After Donte' Stallworth left for Cleveland as a free agent in the offseason, there seems to be a vacancy in the receiving corps at training camp.

Randy Moss is undoubtedly the No. 1 wideout following a record-setting season in which he grabbed 23 touchdowns in 2007. At the second spot, Wes Welker can call the slot position his home with his fearlessness to run across the middle and his ability to rack up the receptions.

That leaves an opening on the other side of the field opposite Moss and a handful of bodies hoping to fill the void, namely Jabar Gaffney, Chad Jackson and perhaps Kelly Washington.

If any player has earned the right for first crack at the job, its the sure-handed and versatile Gaffney, who brings a little bit of everything to the position.

"Whatever's called upon, I can pretty much do it all. I try to make myself a versatile guy, run inside routes, outside routes, and whenever coach decides to put me in and call my number to just be ready," said Gaffney, who pulled in 36 receptions and five touchdowns in the 2007 regular season.

Although he is not a household name just yet, his versatility is greatly appreciated by the team and perhaps most by his coach.

"Jabar's had a real good camp and a real good offseason," said Bill Belichick. "At training camp he's gotten a few extra reps so far with Wes being out, but he's a very versatile player that last year played every position for us. Whether it was three wide receivers or four wide receivers, he at one point or another played at each one of those spots."

"He's a guy that picks things up quickly, he's versatile, and quarterbacks have a lot of confidence in him," he added.

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