So much has been said about the New England Patriots offense in the last two weeks, mostly negative things, yet the Patriots still find themselves 2-0 as they welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into town on Sunday.
A lot of the focus has been around the receiving core and the rookies that are going to continue to see a lot of action this year. There have been plenty of dropped passes and missed opportunities for these young receivers, but I still believe that both Kenbrell Thomkins and Aaron Dobson can be key contributors to the Patriots this year and in the future.
Dobson, who was the Patriots’ second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, is a player that could turn heads once he gets some reps and gets comfortable with the Patriots’ system. He is in a tough place as a Patriots rookie WR. Not only have the Patriots had great success on offense in the recent history, but they have also had very poor results when it came to drafting WRs.
The last notable rookie receiver that has made an impact was Deion Branch back in 2002. Since then, the Patriots have drafted players like Chad Jackson, Taylor Price and Brandon Tate, who people had high expectations for, but really never panned out. It seems that they either draft a player who doesn’t live up to the hype like Jackson, or they just have trouble developing these players.
Dobson, though, is a player that has shown a lot in college and in the little action he has had in a Patriots uniform.
In his first regular season game with the Patriots, Dobson finished with three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown — not a terrible performance for a player in his first career game. But his performance gets overlooked due to the fact that he had four drops in the game.
Drops can be a problem, but it isn’t fair to look too much into them considering the fact that it was his first game, it was the home opener against the rival New York Jets on national TV and the weather was terrible. Looking past the missed opportunities, I found it interesting that Tom Brady targeted the rookie Dobson 10 times in the game.
Watching the game, this makes sense to me because it was clear that Dobson created separation and was open quite a bit. Yes, the end results were not what everyone hoped even though the Patriots won the game, but the fact that Dobson was doing well getting open is going to make Brady very happy.
The team should give not only Dobson, but Thomkins some time in this offense. They should give them time to get comfortable with the system and Brady before they start looking into the free agent class of 2014 for WR help or go calling for Terrell Owens.
Dobson is an athletic freak and has shown the ability to make some amazing catches in the past. He is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and ran a 4.43 at the combine. That is a rare combination of size and speed that could make for a potential big-time receiver. If Dobson can cut down the drops, which I think he will, and he can continue to get open like he did in his first game, he will have a chance to become a dynamic part of this offense.