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Shades of development for Aaron Dobson

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  October 11, 2013 09:46 AM

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That’s Dobson in a nutshell. He’s shown all the flash and pizazz of a big-time receiver, who certainly has more to show and room to grow, but has somehow been disrupted either by the dynamic play of others or his own doing.

Through more than a quarter of the season, he has been inconsistent, catching 13 passes on 29 targets for 167 yards and a touchdown and recording three drops. He has had trouble being on the same page with Brady, running the wrong routes on occasion. Brady has thrown two of his three interceptions when throwing in Dobson’s direction. He’s projected to catch 36 passes for 460 yards and three touchdowns this season.

To give you an idea of how far Dobson and Brady have been apart, consider that among all wide receivers who have played at least 25 percent of the snaps on their team, Dobson is 92d overall when it comes to percentage of passes caught vs. targets (44.8), according to the statistical website ProFootballFocus.com.

But there have been clear shades of development from his first game in Week 2 against the New York Jets, when he dropped three passes and Brady was visibly upset with him. He has recorded no drops since that game and has caught 52 percent of the passes thrown his way. It’s the little things that have messed him up. Despite what looked like a pristine training camp, he says he has made vast improvements.

“I feel like I’ve progressed a lot since the start, since the very start,” Dobson said. “Because I remember just starting and it was rough. But I feel like I’ve improved a lot. You know, there’s definitely room for way more improvement. I’m just trying to improve every day and get on the same page with [Brady].”

It’s hard for Dobson to explain the difference between his college days, where he excelled at Marshall, to the pro game, simply saying “it’s a big jump.” But when you consider his talents and potential, you can see why he remains supremely confident in his abilities and is more than optimistic about getting better. He has the breakaway speed, good hands, and an almost limitless upside. He looks at the New Orleans Saints, whom the Patriots play on Sunday, and sees opportunities to capitalize, much like he does every other game. And it’s always on him.

“I feel like as an offense we just got to do our thing,” Dobson said. “We got our game plan going in so I feel like we have some offensive plays that can really do well versus their defense. We just have to execute ‘em and do ‘em well on Sunday.”

Note: execution is always the key.

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What do you think?


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Read this, link that

In his Going Deep blog, Erik Frenz determines that slowing down the Saints’ Jimmy Graham should be priority No. 1 for the Patriots.

Rob Gronkowski reminded us on Thursday that there is nothing new on his status, despite reports earlier in the week stating that he might play.

Prosecutors in former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s murder and weapons charges case want the judge to recuse herself.

My Week 6 NFL picks.

Also, I jumped on RadioBDC Thursday to talk about the state of the Patriots going into Sunday’s game against the Saints. Give it a listen.

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Tweet of the week

Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones made a slight crack of Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount from his time in Oregon and Blount seemed to take it in stride.

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Input this

One reader e-mailed late Sunday:

“Your picks are consistent … They suck! You’ll be 6-10 again this week.”
To which I replied: “Thanks. This gave me a good chuckle.” I proceeded to go 6-8 on the week. What’s to come

- At 4 p.m. Friday, we’ll know how the Patriots will designate Rob Gronkowski’s (back/forearm) progress. Just guessing, but he’ll probably be listed as questionable.

- After the Patriots face the New Orleans Saints, they’ll travel to play the New York Jets next week. They then host the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers before finally getting their bye week in Week 10.

- We’ll have pregame, in-game, and postgame coverage on Boston.com of Patriots-Saints action.

- Alfonzo Dennard got his court date pushed back again. He won’t be due back in a Nebraska courtroom until Nov. 13 after admitting to violating his probation for a suspected DUI.

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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