FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some key points from Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels chat after the first day of camp:
Garoppolo and the quarterback approach. McDaniels said rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a great mindset and approach to learning the game, and that the trio of Brady, Ryan Mallett and Garoppolo fit well together. “It's exciting to have three guys in the same room that are at different stages of their development in their career, but they all approach learning the same way,” McDaniels said. “[They're asking] 'what can I do better? What did I do that I can fix tomorrow?' And Jimmy is no different.”
Brady still has the glimmer in his eye. Brady began his 15th training camp Thursday and still treats it like he did as the 199th pick out of Michigan in 2000 NFL draft. McDaniels views Brady's attitude as unique and a great influence on the younger players. “The thing that's so impressive to is how he [Brady] comes back every year just like he's a first or second year guy,” he said.“He's got that glimmer in his eye.”
Gronkowski's value on the practice field. Having a healthy Rob Gronkowski changes the Patriots' offense and McDaniels is obviously pleased to have the star tight end on the practice field. “Having every player out here is great and Rob is a part of the process that we are going through,” he said. While Gronkowski did not participate in team drills, he took a lot of repetitions with Brady in individual drills and post-practice. McDaniels said of Gronkowski's participation, “When he is out here in certain periods, he is getting a lot out of them.”
Dobson's progress. Second-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson is expected to make a significant jump from his rookie season to 2014. With Dobson starting camp on the active/physically-unable-to-perform list as he recovers from a foot injury, McDaniels addressed Dobson's practice routine and progress. “You can still learn in the meeting rooms and prepare like you are coming out to practice every day and then you work hard at the things you are doing in order to get back,” he said.
New things to come on the offense. McDaniels elaborated on some of the points head coach Bill Belichick made in his press conference Thursday morning about the specialization of the game. There is a strong focus on fundamentals and technique in camp, though McDaniels is also trying to work some new things into the offense to give the team an advantage. When a reporter asked what new things are coming, McDaniels laughed off the question. “I can't tell you those things.” Looks like we will have to wait and see what unfolds.