Tom Brady (12) and Chris Baker (87) celebrate a preseason touchdown. (Jim Davis / Globe Staff)
FOXBOROUGH – Patriots coach Bill Belichick touched on today’s decision to release second-year tight end Tyson DeVree, and was asked his thoughts on the overall competition at the position.
His answer shed light as to how veteran Chris Baker has emerged, while four-year veteran David Thomas seems to be showing signs of explosiveness that he initially displayed as a rookie.
“I would say it’s probably the best we’ve had,” Belichick said of the overall competition at the position.
“Chris has really shown that he can adapt to our system, and he’s done a good job in all the areas.
“Benjamin [Watson] has missed a little time, but he’s performed in the opportunities that he’s had and we’ve certainly seen him over the last few years.
“Dave, even though he was here last year, I think he is still improving over the course of last year and this year combined. Athletically, he looks more like he did his rookie year, in terms of quickness and speed, explosiveness out of breaks and things like that.
“Alex is a combination of a couple different guys – he’s a big guy who has a presence at the line of scrimmage, and an athletic guy who can run and be a factor down the field in the passing game, too.
“I think each player has their individual strengths and weaknesses. I think Chris, in particular, has done a good job in really all the areas we’ve asked him to work in. As a tight end, there is a lot of responsibilities that goes with that – run blocking, pass blocking, route running, route adjustments, deep routes, short routes. They kind of have a little bit of everything and they’re involved in most of our formationing, and we change formations quite a bit. The tight end is a key component in that.”