FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Faced with the challenge of integrating almost an entirely new receiving corps into the offense, a group that includes three rookies, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady acknowledged Wednesday that he has taken a different approach this year. It has been a more patient approach.
“I’m not the most patient guy to begin with, so that’s something that I’m working on,” the 36-year-old Brady said. “You understand that there is a learning curve and there are things that are going to come up that some guys haven’t experienced. ... I think that’s part of what I tried to do this offseason.”
The Patriots are relying on undrafted receiver Kenbrell Thompkins to play an integral role this season, and he led the team in catches this preseason with 15. Draft choices Aaron Dobson (second round) and Josh Boyce (fourth round) are also on the depth chart, while undrafted tight end Zach Sudfeld could play a larger-than-anticipated role.
This is unusual for the Patriots, who have traditionally relied on veteran receivers over Brady’s 14-year career.
“There are a lot of things I’ve done this year that I’ve never done in the past, so it’s been new for me, in terms of the learning, the meetings, the extra time spent,” Brady relayed, adding that it’s been good for him.
“It’s a different situation that we’ve been in here, so there’s a ‘new-ness’ to that. There is a ‘new-ness’ in the teaching and the learning and the work we’ve done over the course of the years.”
Brady then explained how he’ll hold the video clicker as he goes through plays with the team’s receivers in the meeting room.
“You’re going over play after play after play, you can go through 70-80 plays, and when you’re holding the clicker, you just keep teaching,” he said. “It’s good to see it from the other side, from the coaching … I’m not a coach, I’m a player, but there’s teaching of things I see and we’re trying to get on the same page.”
Brady detailed how he communicates with the young pass-catchers on the necessary adjustments. The adjustments are made at times, but other times they aren’t.
“Sometimes it’s what I do with my 3-year-old [son Benjamin] too, and he doesn’t listen either,” Brady said of his newfound patience level. “You try to just hang in there.”
Receiver Danny Amendola, in his fifth NFL season and first with the Patriots, called Brady “a coach on the field.”
“He’s been in the offense a long time and having a lot of new faces in the building, especially at wide receiver, he does a lot of things to help us out,” he said.
Other teammates have noticed the difference in Brady, with third-year running back Stevan Ridley pointing to the team’s 40-9 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions on Aug. 22 as one example.
“That was rough for everyone and in the past I’ve seen him come to the sideline and say things to get guys going, get guys motivated, but he really didn’t. He kind of held back on the way I would have expected him to act when it’s looking ugly,” Ridley said.
“In the three years I’ve been here, I’m used to seeing him when things aren’t going perfect, sometimes he’ll lash out and jump on guys. But he’s been hesitant to do that. Haven’t seen that yet. That’s kind of rare for Tom.”