FOXBORO, Mass. — Gaining Tom Brady’s trust can be a long and arduous process for New England Patriots wide receivers, especially those with little or no NFL experience.
It sounds like that process still is ongoing for New England’s latest batch of young wideouts.
Speaking Friday ahead of the Patriots’ Week 5 matchup with the Washington Redskins, Brady offered an less-than-enthusiastic assessment of that group, which currently includes undrafted rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski. (First-round draft pick N’Keal Harry is on injured reserve but can return in Week 9.)
“Those guys are trying,” the 42-year-old quarterback said. “They’re young. I was young; I was trying once, too. I just didn’t have to play my first year, so it’s a little different.”
Brady, now in his 20th NFL season, has said on multiple occasions that his job description does not include coaching or mentoring young receivers. It’s on them to learn the playbook, take the coaching and ensure they’re where they need to be on each play.
“I think one thing we talk about here is just doing our jobs,” Brady said. “I mean, I can do what I can do. Every player can do what they can do. I can’t do anything for anyone else; they can’t do anything for me. So a lot of it’s just trust and trying to communicate trust and communication.
“I’ve always said the best teammates are the ones that I have to think about the least, because I don’t want to spend my mental energy on things that aren’t really my job. … I think what makes a good team is just people doing their job, doing it the best way they can, and that’s what my responsibility is.”
Those comments mirrored what Brady said earlier this week during an appearance on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show.” In that interview, he acknowledged he rarely trusts young pass-catchers because few are able to quickly grasp New England’s complex offense.
“We’ve had a lot of young players over the years try to come into our offense,” Brady said on WEEI. “It’s a challenging position, because there’s a lot that’s put on receivers. Young players, it’s hard to count on (them). There’s not a lot of young players who have had major contributions in our offense. That’s just the reality of that position.
“We have, I think, a high level of communication, a high level of detail, and I think sometimes it takes guys a few years to understand that. So you just put the process in place. Our guys are well-coached. They’ve got guys giving them great instruction. My role is to play quarterback, and the coaches do a great job preparing our guys.”
Neither Meyers (three catches, four targets, 60 yards) nor Olszewski (zero targets) has made a significant offensive impact thus far, with the former playing 60 offensive snaps through four weeks (including one healthy scratch) and the latter logging just eight while focusing primarily on punt returns.
The vast majority of Meyers’ playing time came in Week 3, when an injury to Julian Edelman bumped him up to No. 3 on the depth chart during a win over the New York Jets. He played 48 snaps in that game, compared to eight in Week 1 and four in Week 4.
Meyers could see additional looks this Sunday against the Redskins if Edelman and/or Josh Gordon are at less than 100 percent. Edelman (chest) is listed as questionable, and Gordon (knee) was limited in practice this week before being removed from the injury report Friday.
Thumbnail photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images