Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Patriots coaches happy with Dobson's progression


With a wide receiver corps in flux and a tight end squad flipped upside down due to injuries and crime, the pressure to produce has been on wide receiver Aaron Dobson basically since he stepped off the stage at the draft.

Now halfway through the season and heading into a bye week, the rookie wideout seems to finally be settling in.

"You see some things each week that, you know what, we worked on that in practice, he improved on that in practice and then it worked in the game," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday, via "I think Aaron is starting to make more plays as the season progresses and he's just going to continue to work hard and try to improve."

Dobson's first few games were understandably rough around the edges. Despite pulling in a 39-yard touchdown pass less than three minutes into his first game, the former Marshall standout went on to catch a mere 42 percent of passes in his direction through his first four games.

Now through nine games, Dobson leads the league in dropped passes but turned things around the past two weeks. He's hauled in three touchdowns in that time and posted his first 100-yard receiving game last Sunday against the Steelers — while also improving his catch percentage.

"The longer we play together, the better we're going to be at those things and opportunities like today to go out there and practice like we did, and we have some extra days of preparation this week and next week, that we'll be able to hopefully be better next week," quarterback Tom Brady said Tuesday. "So that's the goal. It's just constant improvement."

Dobson is currently second behind Julian Edelman in targets, receptions and receiving yards, and he and fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins lead the team with four touchdowns a piece. 

Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea said Tuesday he believes Dobson has done well up to this point given what the team has thrown at him, but acknowledged the learning process is far from over.

"I think that Aaron has made a lot of progress," O'Shea said. "He has definitely worked hard and he is trying to play within our system the best he can, and there is a lot that goes into that. There is a lot that entails.

"He and Tom have done a great job of working hard together. He has worked hard with the other receivers also that we have on the roster in that spot. I think that if they continue to work, they will continue to make improvement. We still have a long way to go."

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