Berry: Young receivers are on a tight leash

Berry: Young receivers are on a tight leash
June 21, 2014, 7:30 am
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Zuri Berry from Boston.com joins Sports Tonight to discuss the Patriots' young receivers. 

Last year, after the team released Aaron Hernandez and lost Wes Welker to the Broncos, it was Julian Edelman who became the team's top receiver, pulling in 105 catches for 1,056 yards.

Beyond that, Danny Amendola missed time to injury and was ineffective after losing Tom Brady's trust.

Rob Gronkowski played in only seven games.

That left a significant portion of the receiving duties to rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins who showed promise, but went through serious growing pains.  

This year, the Patriots will be expecting more from the sophomores.

"It’s the second year guys that are really going to have to make that jump,” says Berry.

"It’s going to be a lot harder for those guys to make those mistakes and get away with it because [the Patriots] have more receivers now. They have other guys to go to."

In fact, if the young receivers don't make an impression early on, they may not even be in the picture by the time Week 1 rolls around.

“They have a very short period of time, maybe not even through mini-camp, before Tom Brady just doesn’t trust them anymore," says Merloni. "This guy is growing impatient as he’s getting older. He wants to win and if you’re dropping passes or you’re not where I want, I’m not looking over there anymore.”

For his part, Brady sounds optimistic that the wideouts will be ready to go.

"We’ve had a great relationship since they got here over a year ago," says Brady. "They’ve put a lot of time in, a lot of effort to get to the point where they’re at now and now they’ve got to take advantage of it. You’re only a young player for a certain amount of time in the NFL and at that point people are just waiting for you to produce."

Sounds like it's time to put up or shut up.