FOXBORO — It didn’t go on for too long, but Tom Brady will probably take any opportunity he gets with Antonio Brown to go over the finer points of route-running.
The pair did just that at Thursday’s practice as they went over the details of how to set up a defender at the tail end of the Patriots warmup period. Brady played the role of cornerback at times, showing Brown how to attack him. Then Brady had Brown play the role of corner, apparently showing Brown what he wants Brown to do in certain situations based on a defender’s leverage.
The conversation lasted about two minutes and was somewhat animated as the quarterback-receiver combo shared their perspectives with one another. Given that the quarterback’s understanding of where his receiver is headed is based in part on body language, it makes sense that the two were deliberate in their footwork and, at times, with their upper-body movements.
Brady and Brown have been teammates for just over a week, and the pair connected four times in Miami for 56 yards and a touchdown. They also were not close on a handful of targets in the third quarter when Brady expected Brown to do one thing and he did something else.
Brown spent extra time at the Patriots facility last week to get caught up on plays as quickly as possible, but there is no substitute for one-on-one work with Brady as he gets acclimated to Brady’s preferences. Even receivers like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have spent recent seasons getting in extra training camp reps with Brady long after establishing themselves as trustworthy targets. It’s an ongoing process, being one of Brady’s go-to options.
For Brown, who’s dealing with very limited practice reps with Brady going into meaningful games, there’s an immense amount of ground to make up. Every little bit of information he can glean from Brady could help, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two continue to have conversations like the one they had before Thursday’s practice began in earnest.
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