FOXBORO — The proof is in the parking spot. And the performance.
Julian Edelman clearly hasn't rested on his shocker of a rookie season. The converted quarterback from Kent State hardly rested on his 37-catch, 359-yard campaign.
"He's a baller, that's it," said Patriots safety Pat Chung of Edelman, who caught 6 passes for 90 yards before exiting for good in the early stages of the third quarter of last night's 27-24 exhibition opening win over the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.
The effort spoke volumes on a night when veterans Wes Welker and Torry Holt sat out and receiving hopefuls Brandon Tate and Taylor Price were quiet, combining for one catch.
Of all the numbers that matter, focus only on the number six, not just six catches but six clean catches on six balls thrown Edelman's way.
If the 5-10, 198-pounder had an Achilles' heel a year ago, it was drops, or at least bobbles that too often squelched drives.
To me, the fact that he earned one of 10 prime parking spots for dedication to the offseason conditioning program then sparkled like nobody else on the field last night should loom large for an offense seeking game-breakers to augment Randy Moss and Welker.
"For a guy who had never played receiver until a little over a year ago, he does a lot of things well," said New England coach Bill Belichick. "Julian is a good player. He pays attention to little things. Julian is one of those players that when you ask him to work on something, he really puts everything into it."
New Orleans, which played without starting safety Darren Sharper, simply had no answers for Edelman. He had Saints diving for air a handful of times.
"That's what every guy should be when they have the ball in their hands," said Edelman, who ran the run-based option offense at Kent State. "That's what we get paid to do, right? Make guys miss?"