Time is of the essence across the NFL landscape, but especially in New England.
The Patriots arguably are the most detail-oriented team in the league with notoriously complex systems on both sides of the ball. In turn, no time can be wasted as Bill Belichick and Co. try to fulfill assignment mastery throughout the roster.
Dont’a Hightower, who’s been with New England since 2012, knows this better than most members of the 2021 Patriots. So if he had to give a piece of advice to the team’s younger players, it would be to soak up as much information as possible and use the veterans as resources.
“Just to be a sponge,” Hightower told reporters Wednesday. “The meetings are gonna go fast, and that’s what are OTAs and minicamp are for. Because in training camp we don’t have time to stop and slow down or go back. Coaches have got staff meetings and stuff, so your time is limited to learn, so just to continue to be a sponge. A lot of the older guys, we’re not trying to keep secrets or anything whether it’s LG (Lawrence Guy) or Dev (Devin McCourty) or the older offensive linemen with David (Andrews) and Shaq (Mason). We realize that you’re kind of only as strong as your weakest link, so we’re just trying to pull everybody along and get as much information as far as everybody’s able to grasp it and retain it.”
Cutting your teeth in the NFL never is an easy task, regardless of where you play. But fortunately for the Patriots’ inexperienced players, they have a great leadership group to lean on.