For years, we have seen the headaches of what should be a dream job: catching passes from Tom Brady. How many times have you heard someone say something like this about Brady:
"He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be every route. Not a yard off, not a yard too deep, not a yard too short. He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be because he's going to put the ball placement exactly right."
That quote comes from wide receiver Brandon LaFell, but it could easily have come from any receiver to walk through the halls of Gillette Stadium. Learning the Patriots offense can be difficult for receivers because of the heavy verbiage, the importance of understanding coverages, and the range of factors that can determine a receiver's assignment on a given play.
"First things first, you've got to learn formations," said LaFell. "Man, we've got a million formations, and we've got a million personnel groups. I was just trying to get all that down pat, because at least if I know where I'm lined up, I can kind of figure out what everybody else is doing based on the concept of the play. And second, learning the terms of the plays that we use and different code words we use, because one play I can be the X receiver and if we go to a hurry-up offense, depending on where the ball is spotted, I can be the Z receiver the next play. I have to know the whole play, but first, learning the formations, personnel groups, second, learning the plays and the concepts and just go from there with it."
It could be why predicting success in terms of fantasy is often difficult with the Pats offense in general. The story went on to say that receivers can be asked to carry out multiple assignments based on alignment, coverage, personnel groupings, where the ball is spotted, and myriad other factors. That's why last year was such a struggle for then-rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Josh Boyce. You can even throw in Danny Amendola into that mix, who was a free agent but then got hurt early in the season. Knowing all of this should increase the fantasy value of any of these WRs, but now it's waiting to see who gets how many snaps. It also could mean a bigger year for Brady.
Aug 30, 2014 · 12:40 PM EDT
The Patriots will keep a roster spot for wide receiver Brian Tyms, who will be serving a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, according to multiple reports.
Tyms, according to a source, will "likely" remain with the Patriots through Saturday's cuts as the team trims its roster to 53 players.
The third-year player, who has spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, caught a team-high 11 receptions for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
The team has already cut WR Josh Boyce according to reports.
Aug 30, 2014 · 11:38 AM EDT
The Patriots have released wide receiver Josh Boyce, according to a report by ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Boyce, the second-year player who was selected by the Patriots 102nd overall in the 2013 draft out of Texas Christian University, failed to impress in his second training camp. He played in nine regular season games last year, including three starts, and caught nine passes for 121 yards before being placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury at the conclusion of the regular season.
Watching Patriots QB Tom Brady and his receivers operate against the Panthers on Friday night, they had a flow and a feel that wasn’t always there last year, a sense of comfort and security.
When Brady dropped back to throw, he seemed much more at ease, much more confident in what his players were going to do and where they were going to be. Last year, it was a bit of a mystery wondering if the proper routes were going to be run.
That was one of the biggest issues, as rookies Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, as well as veteran Danny Amendola, learned the system and tried to get in sync with the quarterback.
A year later, there doesn’t seem to be as much angst with every pass play. Brady doesn’t have that disgusted quarterback look. There’s now a comfort level and trust across the board between him and his primary targets that wasn’t there at any time during the 2013 season. Even the drops don’t have the same impact on No. 12.
The rookies, in particular, didn’t always get the routes down right or get to the exact spots Brady desired. It was the same deal with newcomer Amendola, who on occasion wasn’t certain where he was supposed to be. While there still are mistakes this year, the article noted that Brady doesn't write off anyone and continues to go back to them as targets. Brady comes in ranked 8th among our QBs, and while it seems weird to call him a sleeper, he certainly has the potential to finish a little higher than his ranking - like the days of old. With an ADP of the 9th round, he makes for a nice target at that point in drafts.