FOXBORO, Mass. — Based on a number of conversations last week, it was overly apparent how much the Patriots were gearing up to stop Jets tight end Dustin Keller, who torched New England in Week 2.
The Patriots executed that plan — Keller had three receptions for 27 yards, which provided tangible evidence that Keller was at Gillette Stadium, despite his invisibility — and they've been able to thank rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez for his own involvement in stopping Keller.
Hernandez was one of the Patriots' six practice players of the week, which is signified by a black practice jersey, because he did such a commendable job working as Keller on last week's show team.
"It's definitely an honor, especially as a rookie," Hernandez said. "You go out there and give it your all, and when you're recognized, it obviously feels good."
Hernandez has a little more shake than Keller, but otherwise, their playing styles have been compared to one another. That’s part of why Hernandez was able to give his teammates such an important look in last week's preparation, and Keller, who had season highs of seven receptions and 115 yards to go along with one touchdown in Week 2, was held in check.
"[The coaches] give me a route, one of their routes or whatever it is," Hernandez said. "And I just go out there and do it to the best of my ability to give the defense a great look."