FOXBOROUGH – Greg Salas suddenly finds himself in a situation where every catch he makes may be critical. That’s what a trade from the rebuilding St. Louis Rams to the Patriots will do, increase the sense of urgency.
As the Patriots prepare for their season-opener against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday, Salas is familiarizing himself with the new playbook, although it’s authored by former Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, now the OC in New England.
Salas was on his way to a sparkling rookie season before breaking his left leg in Week 9 last season. After failing to make an impact with the Rams in training camp, he was shipped to New England for a late-round pick in 2015. Salas wasn’t even listed on the depth chart as the team began practice, but he comes to New England hoping to boost the receiver corps.
“I’m just happy to be here and ready to do what’s asked of me. I was able to work with (Josh McDaniels) last year and I’m able to work with him again this year. He was a my coach last year and our offensive coordinator and he’s offensive coordinator here so I have familiarity with everything.
“I play hard and do everything that a team asks of me and that’s what I’m here for,” he said in the locker room of Gillette Stadium. “I feel like I can play both (slot and outside receiver). Just refreshing myself with the material and concentrating on everything about Tennessee.”
In St. Louis, Salas was playing on a team starting over with coach Jeff Fisher. The Patriots, meanwhile, are perennially competing for a Super Bowl.
“It’s a big difference. I’m just happy to be here and I know the expectations are to win every game and that’s what I’m here to help do. I talked to (the Patriots) before the draft like I talked to every other team during the draft process. Not too much familiarity, just casual talking like with every other team.”
Of course for any new Patriot, especially on offense, the first conversation with quarterback Tom Brady will elicit a reaction.
“I’ve got a chance to meet him and he seems like a great guy. He’s one of the best quarterbacks ever so it’s just an honor to play with him,” Salas said. “(Rookie season) was tough but I’ve moved on from that now and now I’m just on to this season and to Tennessee this week.
Salas said his left leg is sound and healthy after an arduous offseasoning conditioning program.
“I’m sure every rehab is difficult and I had to take my time to get ready again and work hard in the offseason to make sure I was able to play this season.”
Salas said he began to detect the hint of a potential deal of the final weeks of training camp.
“I wasn’t sure there was going a trade coming until after the initial 53-man roster, then my agent kind gave me a feeling for what was happening,” he said. “I think (playing in Hawaii’s passing offense) helped in reading defenses and adjusting routes on the go. But every offensive is different from Hawaii’s offense.”