By: Steve Balestrieri
The Patriots don’t start Phase 1 of their OTA strength and conditioning workouts until April 16 and in the meantime got a bit of encouraging news concerning Aaron Dobson. Dobson told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald that he plans of working out in California with QB Tom Brady and developing better chemistry for his second NFL season.
Dobson has been resting his left foot since sustaining a stress fracture about two-thirds of the way thru the 2013 season. Within the next two weeks Dobson should know if the rest was sufficient to heal his foot or whether he’ll need surgery. But at least on the surface it seems that things are pointing in the right direction with his planning on being with Brady to work out.
Dobson had the most productive rookie WR season during the Brady era hauling in 37 catches for 519 yards with four touchdowns in 2013. He played in 12 games, with nine starts. Dobson and the team are expecting much bigger things in his second year and working out with Brady will go a long way in developing that chemistry he’s had with other receivers.
Wes Welker and more recently Julian Edelman have been well-known to make the trek to California to do just that. Edelman even got a residence to be close to Brady to work out whenever the time availed itself.
What would be even better news for the Patriots would be to learn that the other second year wide receivers, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Mark Harrison and TJ Moe as well as veteran Danny Amendola were all planning on doing the same.
While it can’t be official, as the NFL rules and the collective bargaining agreement state such, According to Articl 21, Section 2(a), prior to commencing the program:
(ii) players are not permitted to participate in Club-supervised workouts, Club-supervised practices, group or individual meetings with coaches, group or individual film study with coaches, or group or individual playbook study with coaches;
Much can still be accomplished while working out together, it builds chemistry, timing and most importantly…the vaunted trust factor with Brady. We’ve seen countless times Brady pass by receivers who seem to be open if he doesn’t trust them. This would be a prime opportunity to earn that. And get a jump start on the 2014 season.
With new pieces being expected to being added at the Tight End position and possibly a new veteran WR being added during Free Agency if Edelman doesn’t return, it is a great chance for these 2nd year players in the Patriots system to become integral parts of the offense.
The best wide receivers aren’t always the best physical specimens but frequently the smartest players who can think two steps ahead of the competition. Two great examples of this are Welker and Steve Largent who played for the Seahawks. Neither was blessed with particularly off the charts physical traits but could see and recognize what defenses were doing as quickly as their QBs.
Being able to anticipate how Brady will read of the defense and seeing the same thing, running the correct route and being in the correct place is a guarantee to have the ball thrown your way in the New England complex passing game.
Thinking alike, adjusting on the fly and adapting doesn’t involve any special elixir. It just comes with hard work, repetition and earning the trust of one another. Hopefully we’ll read about a “Patriots passing party” on the left coast this spring. It would be in all of these players’ best interest to do so…