FOXBORO, Mass. — We’ve been waiting for Josh Boyce‘s breakout performance since we first saw the fourth-round pick debut at Patriots training camp.
The fourth-rounder is fast, quick, agile and shifty. He can put his foot in the dirt and stop on a dime when he’s running his routes before the catch and putting moves on defenders after.
The rookie receiver had his breakout performance of the summer on Thursday night. He caught two passes for 44 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball twice for 21 yards. The play of the game came on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett. The third-year quarterback put some perfect touch on the ball, only to be outdone by Boyce’s impressive second burst of acceleration to catch up to the pass.
While Boyce was shining, Aaron Dobson continued to struggle with the little things. He had to double-clutch a catch, he didn’t come back for the ball on a Tim Tebow interception and he didn’t fight for the football on a near interception in the end zone. Dobson’s routes and strength continue to need work four preseason games and countless practices later.
But Dobson — and Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins — are rookies who obviously have room to grow. If this is the floor for all three players, who knows how high the ceiling is. NESN.com’s Patriots writers Doug Kyed and Luke Hughes discussed the rookie receivers, including Quentin Sims, after the game. To hear their thoughts, watch the video above.