Those rumors of the Patriots taking a step back on offense sound greatly exaggerated right about now and, at the very least, Tom Brady should probably begin to get a little more respect from fantasy football owners.
The Pats have put up an average of 36 points in their past two pre-season games and there’s plenty of reason to believe they’ll be at or near the top of most offensive categories in 2014.
But unless something drastic takes place in the next 12 days, it appears as though the Patriots will once again begin a season without a clear-cut, No. 1 “X” receiver. Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins are currently battling for the starting job, it seems, while Aaron Dobson is still working his way into playing shape after foot surgery in March. Dobson did not play against Carolina but practiced last week and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him play Thursday in New Jersey against the Giants (7:30 p.m., CBS-4).
Josh Boyce appears to be the wide receiver most likely to be cut either Tuesday or Saturday as he has had a relatively unimpressive pre-season and did not factor in to the Patriots win over Carolina last Friday. Meanwhile, speedster Brian Tyms has been something of a revelation this summer. Tyms has recorded nine catches for 163 yards in three games this pre-season and has been targeted 16 times by Patriots quarterbacks.
• The Pats announced Monday that rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will start Thursday against New York. ESPN reported that there’s a good chance Garoppolo will play the entire game.
• All NFL teams must trim their roster to 75 players by 4 p.m. today.
• All NFL teams must trim their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30.
• The Patriots begin their 2014 regular season on Sunday, Sept. 7 (1 p.m., CBS) in Miami against the Dolphins.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS