The Patriots are taking a different approach with their rookie receivers this season.
That became clear when the team released Donald Jones before training camp and Lavelle Hawkins just days into the summer practice sessions. With Michael Jenkins sidelined by an undisclosed injury, it’s Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and a bunch of rookies taking reps with Tom Brady.
The future hall-of-famer says he’s proud of what the rookies have accomplished in their short time with the team.
“I’m proud of all of those young players for coming in — we’ve thrown a lot of stuff at them,” Brady told the media in Philadelphia on Tuesday. “I said the other day that it’s not like we’re backing off because that’s not the way our offense is. We’ve got to keep putting the pressure on everybody, whether it’s Aaron [Dobson] or Josh [Boyce] or KT [Kenbrell Thompkins] or Zach Sudfeld. Everyone who’s out there is expected to go in there and execute at a pretty high level.”
To get the rookies on the same page as the rest of the team, Brady is constantly talking to the receivers and teaching them up on the minutiae of the offense.
“Yeah, it’s all important and I’m probably a pain in their butt at this point,” Brady said. “I’m always harping on them about something. I don’t let off very often, so I’m sure it will be nice for everybody to get to the games and get competitive, but we have another big day of practice tomorrow and a situational practice Thursday and then we’re ready to go for Friday.”
Brady has only completed 20-plus passes to a rookie receiver twice in his career with the Patriots — Deion Branch in 2002 and Julian Edelman in 2009. These rookies will have to do what few receivers in New England have accomplished before if they expect to contribute early, which the team needs them to do. So far, Dobson, Boyce, Thompkins and Sudfeld have all surpassed expectations in training camp.
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