FOXBORO - The look in Greg Salas' eyes told the story. The media horde that suddenly surrounded the second-year wide receiver at his locker wasn't like anything he had ever seen in St. Louis, that's for sure.
And Monday was a holiday. The Patriots' locker room will welcome double the number of reporters on Wednesday, when the preparation for the regular-season opener - 1 p.m. Sunday at Tennessee (Ch. 4, 12) - will be in full swing.
"It's a big difference and I'm just happy to be here," said the native of Chino, Calif. "I know the expectations are to win every game, and that's what I'm here to help do."
Salas, who was traded to the Patriots on Saturday for a
late-round 2015 draft choice, certainly fits the mold of the "ideal" Patriot, at least in how he approached his first meeting with the New England media. His replies to questions were brief and polite, and could have been pulled off a list of standard, generic responses.
But there were a few inklings of what he might be able to bring to the Patriots, the first benefit of which might be his past relationship with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
"I was able to work with him last year, and I'll be able to work with him again this year," said Salas, who caught 27 passes for 264 yards in the Rams' McDaniels-authored offense before suffering a broken fibula after making seven catches in an overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 6.
"I have familiarity with everything," said Salas, who said there were plenty of similarities between McDaniels' St. Louis offense and the one he'll be running with the Patriots this year. "I'm just refreshing myself with the material and concentrating on everything about Tennessee."
Salas admitted that there was considerable disappointment that his rookie season ended abruptly just as it seemed he was starting to hit a stride. He made 22 of his 27 catches in a four-game span before the injury.
"It was tough, but I've moved on from that now," he said. "I'm sure every rehab was difficult. 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. But that's over with now, and it's time to get ready for this season."
Asked to describe himself as a receiver, the 6-foot-1, 209-pound Hawaii alum said, "I play hard and I do everything that a team asks me to do, and that's what I'm here for." He also said he felt equally adept in the slot or outside the numbers.
Some of that may be the result of his collegiate pedigree. Hawaii was the birthplace of the run-and-shoot offense and still puts up impressive passing statistics every year.
"I think it helped out a lot with reading defenses and adjusting routes on the go," Salas said of his Warrior background. "But every offense is different, and there are new challenges with learning new offenses. This is different than Hawaii's offense, that's for sure."
Salas is in the unfortunate position of having to make a quick transition to a new quarterback. But aside from the well-deserved accolades for his accomplishments, Tom Brady is known for being willing to devote the extra time to bringing a newcomer under his wing and familiarizing him with the nuances of the Patriots' offense.
"I've had a chance to meet him," Salas said. "He seems like a great guy and he's one of the best quarterbacks ever, so it's just an honor to play with him."