FOXBORO, Mass. — The question was about Patriots undrafted rookie tight end Bryce Williams, who has been one of many bright spots for New England in training camp. But head coach Bill Belichick, who’s been extremely generous with his praise this summer, went out of his way to call attention to the entire group, which of course features Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett.
Belichick seems pretty pleased with the depth of his Patriots roster.
“It’s been probably as good of a tight end situation, overall from top to bottom, as we’ve ever had here,” Belichick said Wednesday. “The guys are all competitive; they can all do enough things to be competitive.”
Belichick did heap praise on Williams, too.
“I think Bryce has come in and done a good job,” Belichick said. “(He’s) got a lot to learn. It’s a big adjustment for him. … Bryce has done a good job catching the ball well. He’s got good ball skills, has a receiver background, but you can kind of see that watching him play. It shows up out there.”
The Patriots are stacked at tight end, to expound upon Belichick’s words. Gronkowski is the best tight end in the NFL, Bennett is a Pro Bowler in his own right, Clay Harbor (currently on the physically unable to perform list) is versatile and athletic and Bear Pascoe is a seven-year veteran and blocking specialist. Derby, Williams and Scheu all have looked solid in training camp. Fullback James Develin is also considered one of the group.
“All the guys are very, very, very good,” Bennett said Wednesday. “They all have different dynamics. I love Develin. Develin’s one of the best fullbacks I’ve ever played with. I love playing with him. He’s very smart. He can do a lot of different things. All the guys are working, all the guys are pushing, and that’s all you’re asking for.”
Bennett wasn’t shocked to hear Belichick acclaim.
“It makes me feel good,” Bennett said. “He’s a helluva coach, and he’s been around for a really, really long time, so I think we’re doing well, but there’s so much growth for us to do. I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we want to be. I think that’s the most exciting thing for us in our tight end room that we know we can be even better than what we’re doing right now. And once we get to where we want to go and continue to progress, I think it could be very dangerous.
“I’ve only been around him for a couple months, so I’m not sure if that’s something he doesn’t do or something he does do. I don’t know. I’m not surprised because he’s a very nice guy.”
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will start the first four games of the season while Tom Brady serves his suspension for Deflategate, appreciates the Patriots’ talent at tight end.
“It’s awesome, it’s awesome,” Garoppolo said. “(Gronkowski and Bennett) make it a lot better as they’re both hard workers, too, in the classroom and everything. It’s a comfortable feeling as a quarterback.”
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