Wide receiver Torry Holt, who will eventually run his last go route at Canton, was one of the oldest veterans on the field last week when the Patriots reported for voluntary organized team activities. He's a natural leader and someone who is easy for young players to flock toward, but Holt didn't use the time to roll out a personal red carpet and sign autographs. Rather, he made sure to pick the brains of the young guys who have already spent time in the New England system.
"Absolutely, learning what they know about the system, what they know about the practice tempo, what's expected in the classroom, what's expected outside of the building," Holt said. "Picking up and learning from those guys. As an older player, you can learn from the young guys, too. There's certain things that they do in routes, their steps, their tacking techniques, et cetera. You've got to humble yourself, take what they know and apply it to your game."
Of the players who participated in the opening week of OTAs, Sam Aiken, Julian Edelman, Isaiah Stanback (before he was released), Brandon Tate and Matthew Slater were the only wide receivers who were with the Patriots last season. Over the course of their careers, those five players have combined for 89 receptions, 1,082 yards and three touchdowns.
Holt, by himself, has eclipsed all three of those totals during six separate seasons in his 11-year career, so no one would really blame the guy if he went to practice with one hand taped behind his back and proceeded to give the understudies some swirlies between drills.
That's just not Holt's style, though. The likely Hall of Famer, who turns 34 on Saturday, has remained humble and hardworking since entering the league as the sixth overall pick in the 1999 draft. He knows that mentality has helped him achieve all of his success, and breaking out of that wouldn't suit Holt's character.
"I'm just doing what I've always done," Holt said. "I'm doing what I was taught, and that's what has allowed me to have the success that I've had through the course of my time in the league. With the young guys that we have here, it's good for them to have veteran guys that they can learn from, guys that they see that do it consistently from day to day. So I'm just stepping in and doing what coaches ask me to do."
Obviously, Holt has the physical talent and overall pedigree to put himself in a good place within the Patriots' offense. He's smart enough to take advantage of coverages that will undoubtedly roll toward Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and it's expected he'll be able to excel as the third receiving option, which the Patriots greatly lacked in 2009.
"Football is a humbling sport, and I've always said and had coaches tell
me, 'You've never got it. You've never got it in this league,'" Holt
said. "As long as you're working to improve as a football team and
improve as an individual player, your chances to succeed are very high."
The goal for Holt — or any newly-signed player — at this point in the offseason is to develop a better understanding of the terminology in the playbook. The best way to do that, Holt knows, is to lean on the guys who have done it before. Now, that's a veteran move.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP