When Lance Kendricks arrived in New England three days ago, he was greeted by a familiar face. After being drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams in 2011, the tight end spent his rookie year playing under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. A lot has happened in the eight years since the two were together, but for Kendricks, the familiarity is easing his adjustment in New England.
"It does bring back a few memories of getting yelled at as a rookie," Kendricks jokingly said of his reunion with McDaniels. "I know where his mind is with plays. I understand the dynamic of it, so it helps in that regard."
Kendricks has been used in a variety of roles during his eight NFL seasons. Last year in Green Bay he caught 19 passes for 170 yards, but establishing himself as a reliable blocker has helped him remain in the NFL. With the Patriots now practicing in pads, we will have a chance to see how effective Kendricks can be as a blocker.
"I took a ton of pride in run blocking," Kendricks said. "I think that's going to help you ultimately get on the field. We have some really great running backs here. The dynamics and versatility they have, it's going to take us a long way."
As it stands now, there are six tight ends vying for a spot on the Patriots 53-man roster. Of the six players, there is not one guy who can fill the void left by Rob Gronkowski alone. Kendricks is well aware of the Patriots' tight end situation and knows that the Patriots will need multiple players capitalizing on their specific skillset in order to be successful.
"I'm not putting any pressure on myself to perform or anything. I'm just trying to come in and get a role. I didn't have any expectations (coming in). For me, this year, it's kind of a fresh start. I want to come in and just put my head down and go to work and see what I can do."