FOXBORO, Mass. — Second-year tight end Aaron Hernandez has been absolutely on fire in the last week of training camp, and his recent surge obviously bodes well for the Patriots' offense.
Hernandez had a slow start, missing the first four practices to fully recover from offseason surgery, and it took him a few more days to get back into a rhythm. He's made up for it in a big way in the last few practices, especially in red-zone work where he caught multiple touchdown passes on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
"They just put me in a situation to make a play," Hernandez said. "I just do what I'm told and try to make a play out of it."
It was even more important for Hernandez to shine Monday and Tuesday when the Patriots were without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left Monday's session with an unknown injury. Gronkowski has been the offense's best player throughout training camp, yet Tom Brady didn't miss a beat without him on the field.
"Coaches put us in the right situation, and we both have a lot of ability," Hernandez said of him and Gronkowski. "They put us in the right spots so we can make plays."
The tight end duo caught a combined 87 passes for 1,109 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010, and they're off to another great start in 2011.
"They're both good," said safety Patrick Chung, who sees the both of them plenty during practice. "They all have something different. They're both great players. Hats off to them. They're definitely good players."