FOXBORO, Mass. — Keshawn Martin appears to be having no issue catching on quickly with the New England Patriots based on his debut Sunday.
Martin played 36 snaps for the Patriots and caught three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown from quarterback Tom Brady. Most wide receivers have trouble picking up the complex offense, but Martin had a jump start on the system from his two years playing under former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans.
“I felt pretty comfortable, as far as the plays,” Martin said Sunday after the Patriots’ 51-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I felt good going in. This past week, I’ve been studying my butt off just trying to get it down and everything. Going out there (Sunday), I felt really good.”
Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea had high praise for the early-season acquisition. The Patriots traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Texans for Martin and a sixth-rounder.
“He came in here, we haven’t had a lot of days to practice with him, but the few days we have had in preparation with him, he’s a guy who’s smart, he’s flexible position-wise, he can move around,” O’Shea said Monday. “He had some familiarity with the offense, which was good. He’s done a really good job and played well within his role (Sunday). It’s a work in progress as far as him learning some of the stuff that is different with our offense relative to where he just came from.”
O’Brien doesn’t run exactly the same system as Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, but it’s similar enough that Martin feels more comfortable transitioning from the Texans to the Patriots than he did when he was moving from Gary Kubiak’s offense to O’Brien’s in Houston.
“It’s different a little bit, but it’s also got some similarities,” Martin said. “I feel like me coming here was a good thing for me, just from the similar offenses and giving me a chance to get on the field.”
Martin has knowledge of the system, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is very demanding of his receivers. That could take some adjustment for Martin.
“He’s not playing with the same players,” O’Shea said. “Obviously with Tom, there’s some things that are probably different that he has to learn, so that’s a work in progress, but he’s done a real good job so far of working really hard, and the most impressive thing about Keshawn so far is his ability to function in multiple position role.”
Martin mostly played “X” receiver Monday, which normally is Brandon LaFell’s role in the Patriots’ offense. LaFell is on the PUP list to start the season, however, so Martin and Aaron Dobson shared the position on Sunday.
“Physically, he has a skill set to play both inside and outside, which is really a requirement for that fourth receiver position for us,” O’Shea said. “I think physically he can do that and mentally, he’s been very sharp and worked very hard to make sure he can function in all of those roles.”
Thumbnail photo via Doug Kyed/NESN
Thumbnail photo via Wide receiver Keshawn Martin talking to the media in the New England Patriots' locker room. Doug Kyed/NESN