Football briefs: Patriots losing confidence in lackadaisical Maroney

Pro Football Weekly staff

The Way We Hear It

Rather than wearing down defenses, RB Laurence Maroney is beginning to wear on the patience of the Patriots’ coaches. New England’s first-round pick in 2006, Maroney not only hasn’t developed into the type of every-down back the team believed he’d be, but he has played with such little fire that Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan all are trusted more than him.

After picking up a respectable 51 yards on 10 carries in Week One vs. the Chiefs, Maroney has gained just 42 yards on 18 carries since.

At the root of his problem is his unwillingness to sacrifice his body, often opting to head out of bounds instead of picking up yards after contact.

Word from Foxborough is that although the Pats aren’t yet willing to concede that Maroney was a wasted pick, he’ll need to show serious improvement soon or risk being phased out of one of the league’s deepest backfields.

NFL Whispers

FALCONS: Sources in Atlanta are beginning to question whether second-year WR Laurent Robinson can hold up for a full season. There have been doubts about his toughness for some time, but after a hamstring injury last season, a tailbone injury in training camp and a knee issue that’s currently nagging him (he was inactive in Week Five), the team is growing frustrated with him. We hear he didn’t bounce back quickly from prior ailments, and insiders don’t expect a speedy recovery from the newest injury.

CHIEFS: We hear that the elbow injury to Chiefs OLT Branden Albert could be serious enough to sideline him for a number of weeks. That would leave second-year man Herb Taylor to fill in at left tackle, a move that the team expects would hinder its running game more than its passing attack.

CHARGERS: If the Chargers seem a bit worn down by the end of October, it won’t be a coincidence. The team will make two trips to the East Coast (Miami and Buffalo) and a trek to London (to play the Saints) all during this month. We hear that, in a 24-day span, the team will log 15,769 travel miles. Luckily for them, they get a bye week to rest up following their England trip.

The Fantasy Buzz

The Giants have put the clamps on opposing passers thus far, which could lead to even more problems for the Browns’ offense. Big Blue’s powerful pass rush, which leads the league in QB sack percentage, will give QB Derek Anderson little time to find receivers. WR Braylon Edwards, meanwhile, will continue to see lots of coverage from the NFC’s top pass defense.

Gus Frerotte hasn’t exactly wowed since taking over as the Vikings’ signalcaller, but a date with the Lions could change that. Detroit is allowing 249 yards per game through the air and a league-worst 8.9 yards per pass play, making Frerotte a great bye-week replacement. WR Bernard Berrian also is worth starting this week, as he has been playing much better with Frerotte under center.

Colts WR Marvin Harrison has been having a rough go of it this season, and a matchup with the Ravens won’t help him put an end to his struggles. Baltimore is allowing a league-best 128.5 passing yards per game and has only given up three scores through the air. Harrison and QB Peyton Manning haven’t been on the same page lately, and their frustrations likely will continue in this one.

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