FOXBORO -- Many veteran players have made transition before. The results have been mixed.
For every Randy Moss that joins the Patriots offense, there's a Reggie Wayne. For every Corey Dillon, there's a Joseph Addai. For every Wes Welker, there's a Joey Galloway.
Dwayne Allen's trying to make sure he ends up on the right side of that list, but he admitted on Wednesday that it hasn't been easy.
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"It's exciting to come to work, but it's been really hard," he said. "Like, I'm not going to sugarcoat it: It is hard, but also stimulating and very exciting. It's one of those things where you pray for something for so long and then it comes to you, you can't cry because it's hard. You just have to accept it and be thankful that your prayers were answered."
Allen has admitted that he performed well below his own standards in the spring. During practices open to the media, he had difficulty holding onto the football. Things seemed to be speeding up on him.
Since then, though, from the outset of camp, he's looked more fluid. He appears to have made the most of his opportunities -- both as a receiver and a blocker -- and he seems to be earning the trust of quarterback Tom Brady.
"Yeah, it’s really been fun working with him," Brady said Wednesday. "I mean, he’s come to work every day. I don’t know if he’s missed a day. He’s been really durable. He’s done everything the coaches have asked of him. I mean, it’s challenging when you come into a new program -- being in one place for a long period of time, getting used to the coaches and the schedule and the routine and the facilities and then to transition -- and he’s never made any excuses, he’s never backed down from a challenge, and he’s just gotten better, and I’ve certainly gained more trust in him . . .
"That position has been really critical for us over the years. You know, tight ends that play opposite Rob [Gronkowski] get a lot of opportunity. He’s going to need to take advantage of them, and it’s going to be great for our team if he does."
Bill Belichick also praised Allen's durability because having him on the field has helped to expedite the adjustment period.
"He’s out there every day," Belichick said. "He’s a dependable player, gives great effort, has a good attitude, very coachable. You tell him to try and do something, even though he’s been doing it maybe differently at other points in his career in college or at Indianapolis or whatever, he tries to do it the way you ask him to do it. He wants to do it right, tries very hard to use the techniques that he is asked to use. There has been a lot of progress."
Allen arrived to New England after having played under three offensive coordinators in five years as a member of the Colts. The stability that comes with working under Belichick and Josh McDaniels was a welcome change, but stepping into a place where the coaches and the quarterback have an encyclopedic knowledge of the system can be daunting. And then there's the culture change.
"I had to lean on some divine help the first couple of weeks of camp," Allen said, "just how difficult it was adjusting and really understanding how to come together as a team and be a part of a team and figure out where you fall in line in that team, but it's been going great. I love it here and I enjoy being with my teammates and that's what it's all about."