Troy Brown was named the Patriots running backs and returners coach this season and the former receiver/returner/cornerback has been a fixture with the mostly rookies and second-year players in the returners group, putting the youngsters through their paces, often firing blocking pads at them in various drills.
"I've asked him almost every question there is about how he used to catch punts, what exactly he looks for," said Gunner Olszewski. "I probably bug the heck out of him with some of the questions I've asked him. He's done a great job answering all those questions for all of us returners. There's a lot of young guys back there who haven't returned a lot of punts. Of course, I'm always looking for whatever advantage I could get and touchdown Troy Brown obviously has a lot of answers for us and he's awesome about sharing his knowledge."
Brown has made an impression on the returners about taking ownership of the punt team.
"When you're the returner on the punt return team, that's your team just like the quarterback runs the offense," said Olszewski. "You gotta lead the guys and tell them exactly what you're looking for.
"Something he mentioned to us back in the day when he was returning punts, they had tons of Pro Bowlers on the field. Guys were fantastic defensive players that wanted to stay on the field on fourth down and block for Troy Brown, that's the kind of unit they had. I think that's pretty cool."
Meyers knows what it's gonna take
Jakobi Meyers emerged last year as an undrafted rookie out of NC State, playing in 15 games and chipping in 26 catches for 359 yards. Perhaps Meyers greatest asset was his ability to stay healthy the entire year. He got valuable experience, seeing a playing time spike in Weeks 12 and 13 against the Cowboys and in a loss to the Texans, in which he saw a combined 16 targets and played over 70 percent of the snaps.
"Last year, I feel like I just went out there and it was all about my talent and what I could do, but this year it's more about what's the defense trying to do to me and how can I use that and try to get more separation," said Meyers on Sunday after a practice that saw him limited in a red jersey.
After barely missing a practice in his rookie season, Meyers has had new challenges in 2020, but stressed that he has stayed locked in mentally. As training camp approaches cutdown day this Saturday, Meyers continues to push for reps.
"One thing I learned about this team is that they refuse to let you get comfortable," said Meyers. "I feel like I've definitely taken a step forward mentally. That was one of my biggest things, you can't really play fast until you 100 percent know what you're doing."
Webex Quotes of Note
Gunner Olszewski on Stephon Gilmore calling him 'fearless':
"I'd like to think so. That's kind of what got me to where I am. I take pride in playing tough. That's something that doesn't take talent to do it's just up to you."
D'Angelo Ross on if he's intimidated being in such a talented cornerback room:
"For me, I think it's just a great opportunity. It's always all about the competition, that's what makes you better. I just look at those guys and try to take a little bit or some pieces from what they do and add it to my game I have so much to learn those guys, I'm just taking it all in really trying to play my game and get better."
Michael Onwenu on the connection of Michigan to the Patriots:
"There's a lot here. You can even throw Asiasi in there, he was at Michigan first. It's a great feeling, seeing guys I was playing with in college I'm playing with here, teaching me the ropes and me, Josh [Uche] and Asasi we're all learning the same way and staying true to the game."
Jonathan Jones on the versatility of the secondary:
"I think the biggest thing is when guys get here Bill always harps on learning the concepts, not just learning your position. So cornerbacks knowing what the safety's doing, safeties knowing what the cornerbacks are doing, some safeties knowing what linebackers are doing. I think it makes it a little more fluid when you're asked to do things.