FOXBOROUGH — In four exhibition games, Tom Brady put up the kind of numbers that you might see from him in two quarters of football: 17 of 27 passing for 157 yards and a touchdown. Wideouts Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd combined for one catch for 12 yards.
Yet Brady is confident that once the football is snapped on Sunday in the season opener at Tennessee, he and the offense will be in midseason form.
“You don’t know, but you have confidence that you can do it when it matters,” Brady said before practice Wednesday. “Everything needs to be proven. It’s not like the predictions you make on Wednesday all come true.”
He’ll be behind an offensive line that has questions, won’t have last season’s leading rusher (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) to hand the ball to, and can’t throw a pass to Deion Branch. But when it’s time to play, Brady says, he’ll be ready.
“Whoever is out there is out there, and whoever’s out there has earned that position,” Brady said, in response to a question about the offensive line. “They’ve done what the coaches have asked them to do, and there’s a lot of confidence that they’ll be able to do their job.
“My focus is on quarterback, and I’ve got enough to worry about as is.”
Easy for them to say
The Patriots tapped into the ex-Ram reservoir once again, signing tight end Michael Hoomanawanui to the 53-man roster. Hoomanawanui played with the Rams for two seasons, but was signed off the Redskins’ practice squad, which means he has to remain on the Patriots’ 53-man roster for at least three weeks.
With the Rams, who took him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, he appeared in 16 games, and had 20 receptions for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He was with the team when Josh McDaniels was the offensive coordinator, and joins Lloyd and Greg Salas as former Rams who have rejoined McDaniels in New England.
To make room on the roster, the Patriots placed tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on injured reserve, but with a designation to return.
The Patriots also made some practice squad changes, adding receiver Kerry Taylor and offensive lineman Jeremiah Warren, and releasing fullback Eric Kettani and receiver Sam Kirkland.
First things first
With nine rookies on the active roster, the Patriots will have a number of players who could be making their NFL debuts Sunday. Always a special time for players — and coaches.
“I’m sure it will be an exciting day for all those guys, first NFL game,” Bill Belichick said. “It’s an exciting experience and it’s a learning experience.
“You do the best you can to prepare for it, but there are always things that are a little bit different when you actually get into than you think they’re going to be.
“We try to make them aware of some of the things that are ahead for them. I’ll do that in terms of opening day, we have veteran players, people on our staff like Pepper [Johnson] who played in those games, gone through those situations, that maybe can give a little bit of insight.”
Inching past the Redskins, the Patriots are ranked No. 2 on the list of NFL franchise values, according to Forbes magazine. The Patriots, according to Forbes, are valued at $1.65 billion, behind the Cowboys, the first NFL team to be worth at least $2 billion. Behind the Cowboys ($2.1 billion) and Patriots are the Redskins ($1.6 billion), Giants ($1.468 billion), and Texans ($1.305 billion) . . . The season’s first practice/injury report was released Wednesday, and the Patriots listed six players. Running back Shane Vereen (foot) and offensive lineman Nick McDonald (shoulder) did not participate, with tight end Daniel Fells (shin), cornerback Sterling Moore (knee), and tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) limited in their participation. Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) participated fully. Three Titans did not practice: defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (knee), tackle Mike Otto (finger/knee), and defensive end Scott Solomon (knee).