By: Ian Logue
When the Patriots hit the field Sunday against the Bills, they’ll be doing it with three receivers who have never played in an NFL game.
Kenbrell Thompkins will likely be among three rookie receivers who will play Sunday against the Bills.
(USA TODAY Images)
Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, and Josh Boyce will likely see time with Tom Brady and the offense this weekend, and it will be their first taste of meaningful professional football.
Some may worry about their inexperience, but one thing that can’t be overlooked is the fact you’ve got three talented players who are eager and hungry as they try to establish themselves as players in this league. That’s an asset that should make them fun to watch this season, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels feels it’s one big thing they bring to the table.
“Youth,” explained McDaniels during his conference call with the media Tuesday when asked what he felt those guys bring to the team. “They’re all anxious to get started. They’ve got an enthusiasm about them. They’re all three capable of playing in our offense. We’ve already moved them and played multiple roles, multiple positions with them, which in our system is a really big plus for us to have some flexibility with those guys.
“They’ve shown that they will study and work at the mental side of the game to be able to be flexible and play at multiple spots that we need them to. They are all competitive and they’ve all been productive in different roles throughout the course of the spring and the preseason.”
McDaniels also pointed out that this isn’t their first time bringing younger players into this system and said they’ll do their best to put them in position to hopefully be productive.
“This won’t be our first time going out there with a young player, or more than one young player that will play for us,” said McDaniels. “I think it is our job to put them in positions that give them an opportunity to be successful, and that applies to everybody on our offense. I think as long as we can do that, each guy that has earned the opportunity to play on Sunday will go out there and give his best effort to do the things that we have already seen him do to contribute.”
Brady has had success working with them so far. He’s a combined 15-of-19 for 181 yards, including 8 first downs throwing each of them the football, with Thompkins accounting for the majority of those numbers (he’s 10-of-12 for 116 yards and 4 first downs). So it’s clear their work this offseason and during training camp is paying dividends.
In the end McDaniels knows it’s going to be a tough game, but it’s his job to make sure the offense is able to take advantage of each of their skillsets.
“It’s going to be a great challenge, like we said, for our offense, and it’s going to be a team situation in terms of how we play the game, how we call it on offense and what we try to do with each one of our players and certainly try to make the best decisions we can to allow them to make an impact.”