FOXBORO, Mass. — Now that Tim Tebow is doing his thing with the third-team offense and Aaron Hernandez is locked up, the most interesting storyline at Patriots training camp lines up across the field from Danny Amendola.
Aaron Dobson has been a star so far in his six practices with the New England Patriots. It was tough to predict how Dobson would fair in practice with live pads, but even with some hiccups, he continues to come back and shine.
It’s obvious Dobson is not as good as Amendola, but no other wide receiver on the field comes close. And he’s not as consistent as Kenbrell Thompkins, but he’s the most exciting. And at this point, he’ll be the “X” receiver on the field in the first-team offense when the Patriots suit up in their first game of the preseason against the Eagles.
Dobson missed practice Tuesday after he got cleated during the Monday night practice at Gillette, according to Nick Underhill of MassLive.com. The Patriots had Wednesday off, but Dobson came in Thursday and didn’t miss a beat. The best play of the day came on a deep route, where he beat Justin Green on a double move. Green caught up, but Dobson still pulled in the reception for a touchdown.
Dobson may not be a 100-catch receiver his rookie year, but he’ll be the recipient of quite a few cheers from the crowd on a few spectacular plays a week. He appears to be picking up the system cleanly, though there are some rookie missteps to be expected (and they do occur on the practice field). Dobson also beat Devin McCourty during 1-on-1s.
Julian Edelman, Brandon Bolden, Cory Grissom and Dobson were back at practice after sitting out Tuesday. Bolden and Grissom just did work on the side, while Edelman was limited. Ras-I Dowling was on a bike during practice. He appeared to be walking gingerly on the side, as well. Mark Harrison and Rob Gronkowski were spotted in sweats. Armond Armstead and Marcus Cannon were not present. Dan Connolly was suited up and limited. McCourty was wearing his red non-contact jersey.
-Tyronne Green took the majority of the snaps at right guard while Cannon was out and Connolly was limited. Green was signed by the Patriots, then released, then re-signed. It’s looking like re-signing him was a good move. He’s looked impressive in 1-on-1s, and now, the hard work is paying off for him. He was a starter in San Diego.
-Edelman participated in 7-on-7s and looked nearly back to his old self. He had a foot injury.
-Thompkins and Josh Boyce continue to look good in 1-on-1s, though Thompkins is more consistent in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s.
-Michael Hoomanawanui and Jamie Collins got into a brief scuffle. It’s just training camp, though. Those things happen.
-Daily “Zach Sudfeld looks solid” note. He was lined up out wide at times Thursday.
-George Winn may not have straight-line speed, but he’s always impressive in juke drills.
-Kyle Arrington took a step back in 1-on-1s, getting beat by Thompkins, Amendola and Quentin Sims.
-McCourty participating in 1-on-1s was new. He was the only safety in that drill.
-The Rutgers rookies got some chances with the first and second teams. Logan Ryan appeared to be getting Dowling’s snaps, while Duron Harmon got his first chance with some of the first-teamers. Harmon’s eyes lit up when I asked him after practice about being in with the first team on those drills. Tavon Wilson also got some reps with the first-teamers, but it appears those two are battling directly for snaps.
-Tommy Kelly, Jason Vega and Marcus Forston all took laps for jumping offsides during 1-on-1s. Kelly has had to take a fair share of laps for jumping this camp.
-Marcus Benard continues to tear it up during 1-on-1s. No one gets close to blocking him. He is going up against guys like Chris McDonald, though. Jake Bequette has also improved as camp has progressed.
-Adrian Wilson spent some time in a hybrid linebacker role. He talked Monday about spending some time in the front seven.
-Steve Beauharnais spent some time at middle linebacker and even picked off Tom Brady on a diving catch.