New England Patriots

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 22: Isaiah Ford #84 of the Miami Dolphins warms up prior to the game agasint the Cincinnati Bengals at Hard Rock Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

Despite rumors of a potential sell-off coming to Patriot Place at the trade deadline, Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s squad only added, acquiring wide receiver Isaiah Ford from the Dolphins in exchange for a conditional seventh-round selection. The Patriots also added 74-game NFL veteran Donte Moncrief to their practice squad.

Both of whom were brought up during Belichick’s pregame chat with Scott Zolak before Monday’s win over the New York Jets.

“They both have some experience,” Belichick told Zolak. “We haven’t been able to work with Isaiah Ford yet because of the COVID testing; Donte was tested last week and was able to practice with us this week. So we had a chance to evaluate him. But, we’ll look forward to seeing Isaiah Ford and just go from there.

“At this point in time, when you look across the league and and try to see players that are available, that have some experience that you need, and if you can get them on your team. “It’s with a bigger practice squad and more players on injured reserve and things like that. They’re just a few less opportunities than maybe what there would have been. But that enables us to have more guys in our system. That’s just the way it’s kind of set up this year. And I think it’s — for the most part — given teams more depth on their roster instead of off their roster.”

Arriving to the Patriots with 18 catches and 184 yards in seven games with the Dolphins this season, the 6-foot-2 Ford brings another set of NFL-level hands to a Patriot wideout group currently short on bodies. (N’Keal Harry missed his second straight game due to a concussion and Julian Edelman remains on the shelf following a knee procedure.)

In other words, the need for Ford to step in and make an immediate impact is certainly there.

But the Patriots also hope that Ford’s familiar with a Patriots-esque system — Ford played for the Brian Flores-coached Dolphins for the last year and a half, and caught 23 balls for 244 yards in a 2019 Miami offense coordinated by longtime Patriot assistant Chad O’Shea — will assist in what will be a crash-course experience in New England.

“I think that’s a good point that he was with Chad last year,” Belichick acknowledged. “He can recall a lot of the terminology that they had. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s certainly close. It’s not like starting all over again. We have a chance to work with him. We’ve talked, but hopefully he’ll be able to pick things up in a timely way and we’ll see if we can get him ready as soon as possible.

“But at some point, you need to bring guys in off your roster. And that’s where we were last week.”