CAMBRIDGE – Tom Brady acknowledged Friday evening the “learning curve” his new fleet of receiving targets have to negotiate.
Brady, speaking at his charity flag football game at Harvard Stadium, said, “Definitely we’re trying to get all those guys up to speed. When you haven’t really played with anybody for a significant time, or under a lot of pressurized situations, there is definitely a learning curve. We’re going to try to work through that learning curve as much as we can. The practices have been competitive and we have to be able to keep stringing them together. We have a couple more weeks of spring practice and that will lead into training camp.”
The Patriots completed another round of OTA practices this week. They’ll have another session next week and the team’s minicamp the following week before breaking in advance of training camp which will begin in late July.
With Wes Welker gone to Denver, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez down with injuries and players like Danny Amendola, Michael Jenkins, Jake Ballard and rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce in their first go-round with the team, Brady has a lot of tutoring to do.
He sounded optimistic about the progress.
“I don’t feel like a coach, so to speak,” he said. “I just try to go out and do the best I can do, and the more efficient I am, the better I perform, the better it is for the team. My focus [is on making improvements] and I felt like it’s been a good offseason this far, and hopefully we can keep it going right into training camp.”
Amendola, who arrived with fellow wideout Julian Edelman (walking without a boot or a noticeable limp as he comes back from a foot injury), hauled in a few passes from Brady during the well-attended event.
“He comes in and works really hard,” Brady said of Amendola. “He wants to do everything right, and he’s very competitive. It’s been a lot of fun. He’s out here today, we’re having fun together, and there are a lot of my teammates have come out to support this. I think one thing about our community here in Boston is the support that we get from all the athletes, all the people. It’s a small town. It’s a special place to play.”
Brady said he hasn’t “inquired too much” about the status of Gronkowski, adding, “That’s all the medical stuff that always sorts itself out. I’ve been working hard with the guys that have been out there and it’s been fun to be back out on the field.”
As for missing Welker, Brady said, “I always miss his friendship. He’s one of my best friends. We stay in touch. We’ll never lose that. Like I said, he’s on a great team. He’s moved on and that’s part of the NFL and something I’ve been accustomed to over the years, losing some friends. I hope we go out and have a great year. [We’ve] set the standard pretty high.”
Friday night was the kickoff to a weekend of activities which will raise money for “Best Buddies” a charity which “creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Proceeds from Friday’s game will go to support those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
“It’s a great weekend,” said Brady. “We have great support this year. We’ve really had great support since we started the game; I think it’s our fourth or fifth year. It’s a highlight of my year, to see the Buddies and their excitement over the game. There’s a little bit of competiveness and fun, and all the proceeds are going to all the people [in] Boston and the One Fund. It’s a great time.”