New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be throwing to a very young and inexperienced group of receivers this season. But he’s up for the challenge.
The Patriots have 12 receivers in camp, six are rookies – Perez Ashford, Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson, Mark Harrison, Quentin Sims and Kenbrell Thompkins – averaging 24.83 years old.
The Patriots will likely keep six receivers on the roster.
Brady, 35, told Ben Volin of The Boston Globe that he must remind himself to be patient with his new young teammates.
“I don’t want to be a grumpy old guy,” he said. “I understand there’s a learning curve and there’s a patience. I think you try to let them know though, that there’s an urgency about it, so it’s not like you can afford mistakes.”
The young receivers “have been really willing to come in here and learn and take to the coaches and listen and take hard criticism, so to speak,” Brady added. “Because when you’re a young player, when you’re a veteran player, you don’t get it all right. Everyone needs the reps.”
Volin wrote Tuesday that veteran Danny Amendola has been the “one bright spot in the receiver room.”
“If he can play 16 games like Welker always did, there’s little reason to think he can’t top 100 catches this season.”
Coach Bill Belichick praised Amendola on Sirius XM.
“He’s a very good receiver,” said Belichick. “He can play outside, play inside. He can run after the catch, has returned kicks. Has good ball skills. Good concentration. Tough kid. We’re excited to have him and we’ll see how it all fits together. I know the quarterbacks are gaining a lot of confidence in his route-running and catching ability.”
Brady, entering his 14th season, with three Super Bowls, two MVPs, and 44,806 passing yards, doesn’t plan to skip training camp to save his body for the regular season.
“That’s probably a contradiction to the way he looks at training camp,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “He has such a youthful enthusiasm about himself and the way he goes about his day and training camp each day, that reminds me of when he was younger every time I see him.”
“He hasn’t lost his passion for the game. He’s out there early, he’s staying late, he’s doing extra, he’s really engaged with our group on offense – whether it’s the linemen or the skill positions. [And] he’s extremely coachable, which I think for a player that has achieved a lot of the things he’s achieved individually and as a leader of this team, I think that’s really a neat thing for me to experience.”