Joshuah Bledsoe leading the way for young members of Patriots’ secondary in training camp

Bledsoe's been one of the standout players through the Patriots' first four practices.

Joshuah Bledsoe, pictured at the Senior Bowl, is off to a strong start in Year 2 after missing almost all of his rookie season due to injury. AP Photo/Rusty Costanza

FOXBOROUGH – Safety Joshuah Bledsoe spent practically his entire rookie season on injured lists due to a hand injury.

Now in Year 2, Bledsoe’s been the surprise so far of Patriots training camp. The 2021 sixth-round pick has arguably been the top defensive back through much of the first four practices, recording five pass break-ups, and was in coverage to force a few more incompletions during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

While being the breakout player in the padless portion of training camp, Bledsoe’s just “glad to be out there on the field” after failing to play in a game as a rookie, adding “he can’t complain.”

“Just feels good to be out there on the field with my teammates,” Bledsoe said following Saturday’s practice. “Obviously, you make plays that just build the confidence. Now, I’m just trying to take it play-by-play and just give my all each play.”


Bledsoe credited what he learned watching from the sidelines as a rookie for part of the reason why he’s had a strong start to camp.

“Last year, I was locked in mentally, so it’s just carried over to the field, and I’m able to play fast.”

Not only have Bledsoe’s veteran teammates taken notice of his play to start camp, but they also credited him for his ability to learn while he was off the field.

“He’s just growing,” safety Adrian Phillips said following Thursday’s practice. “He’s able to go out and put stuff together. He’s learning, he’s asking questions, stuff that you want to see from young guys, and he’s eager to get out there.

“Sometimes [you mess up] and that happens in our field. You know, you go over something and you might mess up, we all might mess up, but he’s not afraid to and he wants to get another rep, so it’s good just to see him grow.”

“Josh was flying around today,” corner Jalen Mills added following Thursday’s practice. “He kind of missed a little bit cause of his hand. Now, he’s got an opportunity to show the coaching staff what he has from last year. I think that’s really big for him.”


Bledsoe’s performance got him rewarded later in the week. He split snaps at the nickel corner spot with rookie corners Marcus Jones and Jack Jones, plus second-year corner Shaun Wade, as veteran Jonathan Jones remains on the PUP list due to a shoulder injury.

Even though corner isn’t Bledsoe’s listed position, he was part of the first-team defensive unit that looked strong for much of Saturday’s practice. Mac Jones completed just 6-of-12 passes during 11-on-11s, having to hold the ball and scramble for many plays due to the receivers’ inability to create separation against the secondary.

Bledsoe brushed off any presumed difficulties anyone thought he might have had playing corner during practice.

“We are all versatile,” Bledsoe said. “We can all play whatever spot and make it hard on the quarterback. We line up in one position one time, and then another set comes by, and we switched it up. We’re still doing the same thing. People are just in different spots. It’s pretty cool.”

Bledsoe isn’t the only young player in the secondary who’s stood out so far in camp. Rookie corners Marcus Jones and Jack Jones have also been in the mix. Jack Jones had a pass break-up during 7-on-7s on a Bailey Zappe pass thrown to fellow rookie Tyquan Thornton.


Jones also felt the defense had a strong day on Saturday.

“Yeah, I think so. We just came out firing on all cylinders,” Jones said. “The defense came out with juice. After the defense made a play, we just fed off of that.”

Jack Jones said he feels “a lot more comfortable” in working with the Patriots in training camp than he did in minicamp, saying he’s built a foundation for himself that he wants to build off.

“I’m still getting my feet wet,” Jones said. “I’m just hoping to get one percent better every day and just keep stacking days on top of days. I’m learning something new, so like I said one percent better every single day so I think that’s a big start.”

Since minicamp ended in early June, Jones said he’s gained “a couple of pounds” to help bulk up his 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame. Like Bledsoe, Jones feels versatile, too, saying he has no preference if he plays on the outside or inside spot as a corner nor if he prefers a zone or man-coverage scheme.

Also like Bledsoe, Jones is taking pride in getting close to the veterans in the Patriots’ secondary, citing Malcolm Butler as one of the players who’s helped him a lot because sits next to him in meetings.

“Those guys help me with a lot of stuff, in the film room, off the field,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m asking those guys more questions than anybody else. So I mean, I just follow their lead. They know more than me.”


The feedback for Bledsoe and Jones have been good early on, but both players know they’re still really early in the season as padded practices don’t begin until Monday.

“[The coaches] say I’ve been doing pretty good. I’m just taking it day-by-day though,” Bledsoe said.


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