Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14
FOXBORO, Mass. – Aaron Dobson was just nine years old when Tom Brady made his NFL debut. The chance to play with one of his childhood idols is exciting for Dobson, but he continues to view it as more of an opportunity than a privilege. “He knows so much about the game [and] about the receiver position,” a relaxed Dobson said after practice on Wednesday. “Him at quarterback, seeing the stuff he sees, we’re just trying to get on the same page.” A second-round pick this spring, and entering an overhauled receiving corps, Dobson was expected to take on a major role in the Patriots’ offense this season. His size (6-foot-3) and speed (4.37 40-yard dash at his pro day) were the desirable assets that the Patriots coveted so dear on draft day and what sets him apart from the five other receivers on the Patriots’ depth chart. Yet, he’s struggled as much as any of them in adjusting to the NFL game this preseason, even noting speed as his biggest obstacle. “It’s a lot to learn here. There’s a lot to learn in the playbook, with routes and things like that,” Dobson said. “Definitely the speed of the game, it’s definitely different than college. It’s definitely different, I mean you’re playing with the best players in the world.” Speed, which was one of Dobson’s greatest assets coming out of Marshall, became the biggest hindrance in his professional development over the last few months. He has looked slow off the line at times and even struggled with press coverage, but the speed that Dobson’s talking about seems to be more mental than physical. That’s usually where coaching can take its toll. Luckily for Dobson, he has the best coach possible throwing him passes everyday. “He’s like a coach,” Dobson said almost excitedly of Brady. “He knows much more about the game that I don’t know. He’s been here way longer than me, so I’ve just got my eyes and ears open, listening to everything he’s telling me.” Dobson listened attentively and made progress throughout training camp, but it didn’t always show up on gamedays — at least not the same way it did with fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins. While Thompkins was getting extra targets and affirming headslaps from Brady on the field, Dobson was primarily getting an earful from his quarterback. Every Patriots receiver was on the receiving end of a Brady shout or curse this preseason because of misread or blown assignment — even Danny Amendola caught the brunt of it in practice once or twice. Dobson just seemed to be the recipient more often than others, which may be a result of his lofty draft status. The comments were usually nothing more than a simple ‘[explitive] Aaron’ or ‘come on!’ but, when they come from Brady, they carry a lot more weight. “Oh, I mean, I’m expecting it,” Dobson said. “If I mess up, I expect that out of him to get me right and tell me what I did wrong and what I need to do right. You can’t take it like that [negatively], you just gotta listen and try to do the right thing the next time. “There’s been some things that happened — just little things, you know. I might do the wrong line up — line up wrong, you know — going to the wrong side and he’s like ‘who’s my X’ or what position I am. So, it just kind of gets you that like ‘Oh, I’m going the wrong way.’ You just got to stay on top of everything.” The negativity can be great motivation for a guy like Dobson, who seems to feed off the adversity, but positive reinforcement can be just as, if not even more, powerful. “Everytime you hear something good, especially coming from him, you always feel good,” Dobson added, smiling just thinking about such a moment. With Amendola, Thompkins and even Julian Edelman seemingly ahead of him on the depth chart, Dobson may not have many opportunities to make an impact right away for the Patriots. There’s even a chance that he’s left inactive for the season opener in Buffalo, as it’s likely either he or fellow rookie Josh Boyce will be of the team’s seven gameday inactives. That won’t hold Dobson down, though, as the rookie is constantly looking to learn and grow as a player. Brady’s insatiable desire for knowledge appears to have had a contagious effect on his young receiver. Maybe it’s his childhood respect for Brady that prompted Dobson’s desire or maybe he’s just seizing the opportunity. Either way, he seems committed to making this relationship work. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here. Filed under: Luke Hughes, New England Patriots, Opinion, Top Stories
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Curt Schilling's son causes scare at Logan Airport

Manziel's girlfriend tells Browns to put Johnny Football in

Scalpers in Detroit selling free Jets-Bills tickets for $125

Report: Redskins could bench Robert Griffin III

Broncos have meeting with scoreboard operator

Report: Cowboys could still pursue Adrian Peterson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Manny Pacquiao: I'm ready to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

John Calipari gets daughter's birthday wrong

Carson: Hall of Fame career not worth concussion problems

Tiger hires new swing coach

Is Sting making his WWE debut at Survivor Series?

Eric Decker: It's tough watching Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

WATCH: TY Hilton chokes up in emotional postgame interview

WATCH: Chris Clemons accidentally knocks ref's hat off

WATCH: Aaron Rodgers throws nifty TD across his body

WATCH: LeGarrette Blount does Antonio Brown's end zone dance

WATCH: Eagles take opening kickoff 107 yards for TD

Western Carolina coach blasts Kirk Herbsreit

WATCH: Young reporter asks Helfrich funny question

Sager makes first appearance since leukemia diagnosis

Harvard kicker wears glasses

WATCH: Tennessee fans go a little overboard celebrating TD

Dwight Howard out indefinitely after having PRP on knee

Report: Mike Gundy pursuing Florida job

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Manziel's GF wants her man to play

Cowboys to pursue Adrian Peterson?

Cal gets daughter's bday wrong

Carson: Career not worth concussions

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Bills-Jets game will be free admission

Pete Carroll: Lynch is 'our guy'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.