Brandon LaFell: ‘I haven’t been consistent, I think I am getting better’
|07.29.14 at 9:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Brandon LaFell is hardly the first offensive player to come to the Patriots and struggle to get with the system. Even last season, Danny Amendola needed several regular season games under his belt before he was comfortable. It’s no secret that learning the Patriots playbook can be a challenge for any player coming over from another organization.
With the complex offense quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels run, training camp is one of the most important times of the year, especially for wide receivers to get on the same page as their quarterback.
For LaFell, a four-year veteran, he is still in the learning process phase after he was signed by the Patriots on March 17 coming over from Carolina after spending his first four seasons in the NFL with the Panthers. Although it’s only the fifth day of training camp, LaFell feels he is getting better with each passing day.
“I’m getting better and better everyday,” he said. “We put in a lot of plays, every night is study night for me, something I am not used to because in Carolina we ran the same offense for three years so I knew it. It’s a ton of work every night. The more and more I get reps — I started feeling good at the end of minicamp and then we took the long break so now I am trying to get back in the swing of things.”
LaFell, self-admittedly, had a rough first few days of camp with several drops in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations, but he’s aware of it and followed that up with a productive day on Tuesday.
“I think I’ve been OK,” said LaFell. “I haven’t been consistent. I started out slow the first couple of days with a few drops, but I picked it up from there so as of now I think I am getting better, but it is still early in camp. I have to learn to be consistent and put good days together back-to-back like the rest of this offense. We need to start putting good days back-to-back and if we continue to that we’ll get better.”
The 6-foot-3, LSU-grad, made possibly the catch of training camp thus far on Tuesday when during passing drills on a deep ball from Brady, he split Malcolm Butler and Nate Ebner in coverage taking the ball away from them in the end zone. The play fired up the offense, Brady in particular, as he met the receiver on his way back to the huddle emphatically patting him on the back.
“It makes me feel good,” LaFell said. “It makes the offense feel good every time a receiver goes up on top and makes a play like that. It’s not just me, it’s the whole offense. If we continue to make these plays, we’re all going to feel good and have a good day.”
As for the drops in the first few days of camp, the 2010 third-round pick acknowledges they happened, but isn’t too worried about what people might say, as long as he has the trust of the players and coaches inside the organization.
“Man, people are going to say what they want, but as long as I got the rest of these guys in the locker room behind me and the coaching staff behind me I really don’t care,” said LaFell. “They know I can make plays and I am going to make them.”
For LaFell, who has only missed two games in his first four seasons — if he can master the playbook and get on the same page as Brady, he could be poised for a career year as he hauled in 13 touchdown passes in Carolina with Cam Newton, Matt Moore Jimmy Clauden and Brian St. Pierre as his quarterbacks.
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