Monday, August 19, 2013
Tom Brady: Rookies can be counted on
By Field Yates
The most important takeaway from Tom Brady's Monday morning interview with the "Dennis & Callahan Show" on WEEI sports radio in Boston was that the knee injury he suffered last week was not serious, something we surmised after he returned to practice a day later and played in Friday night's preseason game.
But not to be overlooked were Brady's comments about the trio of rookie receivers -- Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson -- as well as rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld, who have emerged during the early goings of training camp and look to be ready to play prominent roles this season.
The Patriots have had recent struggles developing young receivers, with one hurdle being the difficulty of grasping a complex offensive system. The aforementioned wideouts seems to have a grip of the playbook, something that has allowed them to showcase their natural talents.
Despite not having played a regular season game, Brady said he can already sense these players are understanding the system.
"I think you have a pretty good idea after being around them three or four months that all of them have really come in and done exactly what probably coach was hoping they would do," he said. "That's why he brought them in, to help us win games and to have them help us as a team."
He highlighted the group's dependability, a byproduct of their hard work on and off the practice field.
"The good part is, they've really been able to be counted on," he said. "And I think that's through their work, their preparation and what they've done on the practice field and using the couple of weeks we've had against opponents, including the practices. They really continue to do what they've done all spring and the early part of training camp."
Sudfeld has helped to fill the void created at tight end due to Rob Gronkowski's rehab and the release of Aaron Hernandez amidst offseason legal charges.
"He's continued to make improvements and really impressed everybody because of the way he's just come out to practice every day and [is] determined to work harder and get better at the things that maybe he wasn't very good at coming out," Brady said.
"KT, Aaron and Josh, young receivers that we have have done the same thing," he continued. "They've all come out, they've improved through the coaching, listened to the veteran players that have been around them, and that's a real credit to them. They're understanding and hopefully they continue to go on to be really great professionals, because if you're not a professional, you don't last long. To play for a Bill Belichick coached team you better be smart, you better be tough and you better put the team first."
Though Brady has been encouraged by the group and his offense's progress thus far, he understands that there's an abundance of work ahead and his team hasn't accomplished anything yet.
"What happens over the course of the season, that's to be determined by what we do and not by what I think now or what I hope," he said. "It's really by what we're able to establish on a week-by-week basis."