FOXBORO, Mass. — Out of all the rookies on the Patriots, Aaron Dobson has likely come the farthest from OTAs, into training camp, through preseason and now onto the regular season.
Dobson scored a touchdown on his first NFL snap but struggled with drops through his first few weeks. On Sunday against the Dolphins, Dobson looked like the best receiver on the team. He also played the most snaps out of any New England receiver or tight end.
His touchdown against the Dolphins might have been the team’s best play of the week. The cut on his route against Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll was just enough to get separation into the end zone on a beautiful pass from Brady. And the more Dobson is concentrating on pulling the ball in with his hands, rather than his body, the more his drops are going down.
Dobson now has 26 catches for 324 yards on the season with two touchdowns. That’s pretty impressive for a receiver coming into a system that’s notable for giving rookies fits.
Since we’re eight weeks through the season, now’s the time to catch up with this year’s rookie contributors to see how they’re adjusting to life in the NFL. Check out what Dobson had to say below.
Has the season seemed long or short eight weeks through?
Aaron Dobson: Maybe a little longer. Just from me being used to the college season. We’ve already played 12 games with the preseason here, so, a little long. It feels like we’ve been going at it for a minute, but it’s all good. It’s still fun. I’m having fun with it.
What’s been the hardest adjustment coming from college?
AD: It’s just a big learning curve. Just coming in, learning everything you gotta learn. It’s such a great offense. There’s a lot of things you gotta know. You gotta stay in your playbook. That’s the hardest thing you’ve got to do.
What’s the easiest adjustment or biggest benefit coming from college to the pros?
AD: I feel like just instinctive. Just playing football. I feel like just it’s natural. Just going out there and having fun with it without thinking of things. Just playing football is just the easiest thing. Just going out and having fun.
(Tight end Matthew Mulligan, sitting in the locker next to Dobson’s said the rookie should have said the paycheck was the biggest benefit.)
Who have you looked to as the big brother around here?
AD: I would say [Matthew] Slater over there. He’s a good guy. Just on and off the field. He’s calm. He’s one of our captains. If I need to talk to him, I feel that I can talk to him about anything.
What’s been the biggest change since you came in?
AD: I think just me getting more comfortable in the system. I’ve got a long way to go to get where I want to be. I’m just a lot more comfortable than I was when I came in.