Former wide receiver Chris Hogan sends a warning to young Patriots receivers

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots
Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Patriots have earned a reputation for many things from their incredible dynastic run. Other than the negative connotations associated with why they were such a successful team, New England has been named an unfun place to play mainly due to the coaching practices and complex playbook to learn.

The playbook has especially become a talking point over the last three years since former quarterback Cam Newton revealed its difficulty as the reason he felt unprepared for the 2020 season. Although he wasn't the first player to state that fact, nor will he be the last, it's become a growing concern as the 2023 season nears due to the number of young offensive players added to the roster this year.

Because there is so much pressure on the Patriots' offense in particular, the additions of JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie wide receivers Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas to the lineup have struck up the debate on whether the Patriots need to simplify their playbook or not.

With so much pressure on the young receiving corps to perform well this year as Bill Belichick hopes to have a rebound season, former players have spoken to the media recently about their experience in the offensive system of New England.

The most recent retired player who spoke to The Boston Globe last week was two-time Super Bowl Champion, Chris Hogan.

Since he spent the first three years of his career playing against the Patriots as a member of the Buffalo Bills, Hogan was very familiar with the Tom Brady-led team when he signed there in 2016. He was quickly thrust into the second leg of the most successful dynasty in NFL history and earned the trust of Brady early on, helping the team win two championships in three seasons.

Because of his experience as a receiver learning a historically complex playbook, Hogan shared some advice for all the younger pass catchers preparing for the upcoming season, emphasizing the importance of studying as the most critical part of game preparation.

"The more you study and the more you prepare, the slower the game will be. If you don’t prepare, the game will be so fast, and it can get away from you.

Preparation. That’s the biggest thing. Just be prepared. And don’t take for granted that every bit of film is on that iPad. Study the Eagles and what they do. For me, it was always about how much film I can watch. Not just turning it on and staring at it. Knowing everything I can about everything. Everything."

Considering the run the Patriots were about to go on when Hogan arrived, his advice is very sound and accurate, as he went on to have the best three seasons of his career in New England. Besides learning a lot from the legendary players around him, he figured out the best way to navigate a system that was challenging to decipher and come out victorious.

Hogan discussed the importance of listening to your veteran peers, especially those on the Patriots team for a few years, and listed Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman as the two who helped him figure out the best ways to be successful in New England.

He also reiterated how dire preparation is in general, but mainly as a member of the Patriots. He then warned the young receivers of not putting in the work necessary to become and remain a vital player on the roster, even quoting some famous Belichick sayings as the basis of it all.

"In the end, whether it’s preparation or execution, it falls on the player themselves. It was on me. New England is not a place where they will wait around for someone to get up to speed. They put a lot of responsibility and accountability on the players, which is totally acceptable. As a professional athlete, you have to be able to know how to do your job.

I hate saying that sometimes, but that’s really what it is. You’re an NFL receiver. It’s on you, as a veteran or as a rookie, to learn to manage your time, study, and be ready when your number is called."

Guys like Boutte, Douglas, and Smith-Schuster will have a lot of work to do as they prepare for the start of a pressure-filled season. Not only do they need to become acclimated with their new team, but they also need to live up to their expectations.

There is a lot of focus on the Patriots and how their 2023 season will turn out, with the three being near the top of the list of the most critical pillars of potential success.

Hopefully, they can listen to the advice Hogan is giving, along with the words from other Patriots veterans, and fully immerse themselves in the Patriot way to be the most successful players they can be right away.