Julian Edelman will be absent during the first four games of the season due to his PED suspension, so the Patriots will have to rely on their vast arsenal of pass-catching running backs to ‘fill the void’.
Who knows, maybe someone from the new crop of receivers will jump in to help pick up the slack.
Also, a viable solution would be for Patriots to pair Rob Gronkowski with a pass-catching tight end.
The question is, do they have that tight end in the team?
Apparently, they do.
Meet Jacob Hollister. The undrafted free agent out of Wyoming, now entering his second season with the Patriots, has been working in the special side group with Tom Brady, becoming more and more confident this camp.
He was already noticed in OTAs and minicamp, standing out from the rest with several notable catches over the course of the first four days of camp. On Saturday, he held on to a missile Brady fired in the back of the end zone along the end line, earning him a praise from the quarterback during 7-on-7 red zone work.
Sunday was also productive, with Hollister making a lunging grab of a Brian Hoyer pass in the back corner of the end zone with safety Eddie Pleasant tight in coverage.
The 6-foot-4 weighing 245-pounds is considered a multi-dimensional or “move” tight end. In other words, he can line up just about anywhere.
Hollister, talking about him being brought over into Brady’s side group with Gronkowski, James White and Phillip Dorsett, said he couldn’t quite describe where his confidence level was at this juncture.
“I don’t know if it’s really high or really low. I’m really looking forward to learning every day. That’s what I’ve been doing,” he said. “I feel like my mind is in the right place when it comes to trying to learn from the older guys. I’m just taking what my coaches are telling me, and applying it to the field. That’s where I’m at.”
Hollister also proved himself worthy during one 11-on-11 session, when Brady dropped back, found no one open, and Jacob caught the quarterback’s signal to come back for a pass. The pass-catching tight end cut off his route, came back toward the quarterback and received Brady’s delivery.
“I try my best. Every rep you’re out there is going to help you,” Hollister said when asked about getting Brady’s message. “I’m really just trying to learn and pick up the little things I may have missed last year and try to learn every day.”
“It’s awesome, getting one-on-one time with James (White) and Tom,” said Hollister. “Learning from those guys, just an opportunity like that, along with being with Coach McDaniels, yeah, it’s pretty good.”