LaFell is spending the evening studying his offensive playbook in hopes that he’ll be ready to contribute for the start of the season. The wide receiver wasn’t used to spending so much time on the playbook with the Carolina Panthers, where he knew the offensive plays.
“Every night is study night for me, something I’m not used to because in Carolina we ran the same offense for three years, so I knew it,” LaFell said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium after training camp. “It’s a ton of work every night and the more and more I get reps, the more comfortable I’ll feel. I started feeling good in the OTAs, minicamp, then we took a long break, and now I’m trying to get back in the swing of things.”
LaFell’s hard work appears to be paying off. He came off his best practice as a member of the Patriots on Tuesday, when he caught two passes during team drills from Tom Brady and beat cornerback Brandon Browner during 1-on-1 drills. Most importantly, LaFell didn’t suffer any drops during Tuesday’s session.
“I started off slow the first couple days with a few drops, and I’ve picked it up from then,” LaFell said. “So as of now, I feel like I’m getting better. But it’s still early in camp. I’ve still got to learn how to be consistent and put good days together back-to-back, like the rest of this offense.”
LaFell signed a three-year, $9 million contract this offseason with a hefty $3 million signing bonus, which should guarantee him a spot on the 53-man roster as training camp breaks. The fifth-year pro is competing with second-year Patriots Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce, veterans Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Brian Tyms, and rookies Jeremy Gallon, Derrick Johnson, Cole Stanford and Wilson Van Hooser for playing time.
LaFell’s best play of the day came during 7-on-7 drills when he showed impressive concentration by catching a deep pass from Brady over rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler and safety Nate Ebner.
“When the ball is up top, you can’t worry about the defender, you can’t worry about getting hit,” LaFell said. “You’ve got to worry about the ball and do whatever it takes to make sure you catch the ball and make sure the defense doesn’t catch it.”
Photo via Twitter/@MikeReiss