Josh Boyce on returning kicks: ‘I think I’m pretty good for it’
|08.15.14 at 6:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — For players not assured a roster spot on the final 53-man roster, it’s all about standing out and showing the value you can add to the team.
With a number of players battling at the wide receiver position, second-year pass catcher Josh Boyce has been getting a significant number of reps returning kicks this summer. This could potentially be a way for him to earn his way onto the team.
“I have a little speed, quickness — you have to see where you are going. I think I’m pretty good for it,” Boyce said.
The fourth-round pick out of TCU in 2013 returned nine kicks last season for 214 yards — it’s something he’s done since high school.
“I’ve been doing it for awhile now, if you go back to high school and college,” he said. “So I’m pretty comfortable and I like the ball in my hands trying to make something happen.”
There is a fierce competition at wide receiver with roughly 10 players competing for spots on the team. Carrying 10 receivers is out of the question — in the past the Patriots have gone with five or six. As with any position there are sure to be cuts.
Having a number of players at the position has only made each player better during training camp as competition brings out the best in everyone.
“We all push each other,” Boyce said. “We know it’s a competition, but at the end of the day we’re receivers as a group, so we always push each other and work with each other at the end of the day.”
In last week’s preseason game against Washington, Boyce caught three passes for 30 yards. Besides a critical false start on a third-down play, he felt he had a good game.
“I think I did pretty good — I mean I had the offsides – that was one thing,” said Boyce. “Other than that, I think I had a pretty good game and just [learned] from the mistakes that I had and built on that.”
With Aug. 30 being the day teams have to get down to a 53-man roster, opportunities are becoming limited for players to show what value they can bring to the team.
For Boyce, showing what he can do returning kicks could be that value as the team lost its main kick returner towards the end of last season when LaGarrette Blount went to the Steelers during free agency.
“Just another chance to get better and work on my craft,” Boyce said when asked about Friday’s game. “Just execute the plays they give and try and do the best I can.”