FOXBORO, Mass. — Some notes and nuggets from Day 6 of New England Patriots training camp:
— Bill Belichick’s favorite compliment made its first appearance of the new season Wednesday, with the Patriots coach mentioning that “nobody works harder” than defensive ends Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers.
Belichick’s praise for Wise and Rivers got us thinking: How many Patriots players have been on the receiving end of a “nobody works harder”?
The answer? A whole lot.
A deep dive into online news stories, old tweets and transcripts released by the team yielded 21 results since the start of the 2014 season. (Click the links for context.)
Notice any we missed? Let me know at @ZackCoxNESN.
It’s also worth noting that Belichick himself has received a few “nobody works harders” over the years, including one from Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
— One of the highlights from post-practice media was Gronkowski letting out howls of laughter while trying not to reveal what he’s getting Brady for his 41st birthday on Friday.
— One player whose stock seems to be rising this summer is wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.
Dorsett played a ton of offensive snaps (377) but had little production (12 catches) in 2017 after being traded to the Patriots just before Week 1. Belichick’s comments over the past week, though, suggest the 2015 first-round pick could have a more prominent role this season.
The coach has praised Dorsett multiple times since camp began last week, saying he has improved greatly after experiencing an entire season and offseason in the Patriots’ system.
Linebacker Marquis Flowers is a similar position to Dorsett’s, having been traded to the Patriots late last August.
“It’s certainly been a big advantage for them to be here from the very beginning,” Belichick said. “… It’s different than the rookies who go from Year 1 to Year 2 but similar for a lot of guys being in the second year of a program. But certainly the guys that got here, that had to just jump in and start swimming in the middle of the season, that’s tough, and they did a good job for us.
“This year, they’re way, way ahead of where they were, obviously, last year. And when we get to the similar point in the year — whether that’s September for Dorsett or Flowers or whatever the case might be — I think the full year will really see a substantial improvement. But we’ve already seen a lot of growth from those players. There was a lot of growth from them during the year last year, but yeah, being able to start at the beginning is the best way to do it.”
The Patriots’ decision Wednesday to release wideout Jordan Matthews could open up additional opportunities for Dorsett, who’s seen increased reps in the slot this summer.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images
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