FOXBORO, Mass. — For years now, rookie and veteran wide receivers have come to Foxboro and had difficulty picking up the Patriots’ playbook. Fortunately, rookies Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and T.J. Moe have heard how tough the playbook can be to learn, and they’re prepared.
Maybe it’s just naivety on the new Patriots rookies’ part, or maybe they can break the curse of the newcomer at wide receiver, but all three players seem to be confident that they can pick up the complex system. That’s something Patriots draft picks of the past, like Taylor Price, Chad Jackson, Brandon Tate and Bethel Johnson couldn’t do in Foxboro. Even wily veterans like Joey Galloway, Chad Ochocinco and Torry Holt had difficulty with it.
“I just feel like you gotta get accustomed to the playbook,” Dobson said. “It’s gonna seem different just because every playbook is different that you get into. As long as you stay in and get comfortable. I’ll be fine.”
Dobson heard from coaches that it’s a tough playbook to pick up on. He’s accepted that it’s going to be hard, but he says that he can handle it. Moe heard from the media that it’s going to be a tough transition. But he’ll have a similar approach to picking up the plays.
“You gotta hammer down and learn it,” Moe said. “Everyone has their own style. The Patriots have their own style. I have nothing to compare it to as far as an NFL playbook. I’m just coming in, eyes open trying to learn. I know that people say it’s difficult, I’m just going to try my best.”
Moe noted that he never played outside at wide receiver with Missouri. He was a star quarterback in high school, picking up over 2,500 yards through the air and 2,000 yards on the ground his senior season.
TCU product Boyce is taking a simple approach to his new offense. Boyce played in college-style spread offense at TCU and will need to work to grow accustomed to the pro-style spread that the Patriots run.
“It’s just something new,” Boyce said. “Gotta study and understand. That’s what it’s like with new things.”
It will be key for Dobson or Boyce to emerge as a starting receiver in the Patriots’ offense. The team lacks a true X receiver across from Danny Amendola, and unless Aaron Hernandez is going to pick up that role, one of the rookies will need to pick up the offense quickly.
Fortunately, none of the rookies seem overwhelmed so far. But it’s only the first day of rookie mini-camp, there’s always time.