New WR Brandon LaFell focused on getting up to speed as fast as possible
|06.05.14 at 4:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For Brandon LaFell, the goal is clear.
In his mind, the wide receiver — who signed as a free agent with the Patriots this spring — has a singular directive this spring throughout New England’s OTAs.
“The main thing I want to get out of this is learning the playbook,” he said with particular emphasis after Thursday’s rain-soaked OTA session outside on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. “Learning this playbook, so I can play fast. And building enough confidence so [Tom] Brady can come to me with the ball.
“It’s very important. The quicker I can learn this offense, the quicker I can go out there and be reliable to play fast and know what I’m doing,” he added. “Now, I’m kind of playing a half-speed because I’m thinking so much. The quicker I can learn this offense, the better it will be for me to get on this field and help this team.”
There’s a lot to get used to in New England. According to LaFell, in Carolina, the offense was a numbers system. The Patriots use offensive code words. It’s a process getting acclimated, but LaFell feels good about where he is at this point in the offseason.
“I think it’s getting better each and every day. I continue to do that — continue to build this chemistry so we can gel right now instead of waiting for training camp,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, man.
“But I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet.”
One thing that’s been a huge bump for him in his development has been the opportunity to go up against cornerbacks like Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on a regular basis. According to LaFell, Revis has been as good as advertised.
“Man, Revis is … he’s a guy who has seen it all. None of your tricks are going to work on him,” LaFell said of the former Jets corner. “Browner, he’s a larger guy; long, real physical. Going against those guys every day, I think I can speak for me and a couple of other guys — these guys are making us better. I think if we go out and continue to face these guys, we’ll be able to do this against anybody in the league.”
One of the things that should make the acclimation process a little easier for LaFell is the arrival of new linebacker James Anderson. Anderson, who signed as a free agent with New England earlier this week, was a teammate of LaFell’s in Carolina. LaFell’s face lit up when he was asked about Anderson’s arrival, saying he was “surprised” his old teammate had the chance to join him in New England.
“He texted me a few weeks ago,” Lafell said, “and [Wednesday], I came in the locker room and I saw they were putting ‘James Anderson‘ up. He came through the door and I said, ‘I thought you were joking.’ He said ‘No, man. I was dead serious. I had the workout and everything, and it turned out pretty good.’
“He’s a great guy. He’s a hard worker — he’s going to do everything the coaches ask him to do.”