It appears that the New England Patriots are indeed starting Kenbrell Thompkins over Aaron Dobson, as Thompkins and Danny Amendola both lined up as the Patriots starting wide receivers on the opening drive. Amendola is clearly the Patriots No. 1 option in the passing game, and that’s based on the fact that he is going to do a lot of Wes Welker did with the added bonus of stretching the seam. The Pats gave Amendola an early night by not playing him in the second-half, and I’m sure that was to give the less-polished rookies more reps (and Amendola doesn’t really need added preseason snaps anyway, he’s already proven in this league).
New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Thompkins only caught one pass for three yards out of the four balls thrown his way, but the statistics aren’t really important. What is important is the fact that Thompkins is coming along faster than the other rookie receivers, and he is the most polished of the three. He received plenty of time with Brady, while Aaron Dobson barely got a whiff of action with Brady as his quarterback.
Dobson did bounce back in Week 2 with two catches for 30 yards on five targets, with a 23-yard reception being his highlight for the night. He received most of his playing time with Ryan Mallett behind center, and Mallett showed off his arm with that Dobson throw.
Danny Amendola will be getting my game ball later on today for his six reception, 71-yard performance, and the 26-yard touchdown he caught from Tom Brady was an absolutely perfect pass. I mean, you won’t find as many throws as good as that one; it was a laser up the middle. Amendola did plenty of work himself, though, to get some catches earlier in the game, and the rapport between Amendola and Brady already looks almost as good as the rapport Brady had with Welker. I mean, it’s remarkable to watch how many times these two are already hooking up.