FOXBROUGH – Safety Joshua Bledsoe spent practically his entire rookie season on the injured lists due to a hand injury.
Now in Year 2, Bledsoe has been the surprise of the Patriots training camp so far. The 2021 sixth-round pick has arguably been the top defensive through most of the first four drills, recording a five-pass break-up, and spotting a few more imperfections during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. Coverage was in to force. Practice
After failing to play in a game as a rookie, while being a breakout player in the padless part of training camp, Bledsoe was “glad to be out on the field”, adding “he can’t complain.”
“It’s nice to be out on the field with my teammates,” Bledsoe said after Saturday’s practice. “Obviously, you make plays that just build confidence. Now, I’m trying to take it play-by-play and just give my every play. ,
Bledsoe credits what he learned watching from the sidelines as a rookie for the reason for a strong start to camp.
“Last year, I was mentally off, so it’s taken to the field now, and I’m able to play faster.”
Not only did Bledsoe’s seasoned teammates pay attention to his game to start camp, but he also credits him for his ability to learn while he’s off the field.
“He’s just growing,” security Adrian Phillips said after Thursday’s practice. “He’s able to go out and put stuff together. He’s learning, he’s asking questions, things you want to see from young people, and he’s eager to get out there.
“sometimes [you mess up] And it happens in our area. You know, you go to something and you can mess up, we can all mess up, but he’s not afraid and he wants to get another rep, so it’s good to see him develop.
“Josh was flying around today,” Corner Jalen Mills added after Thursday’s practice. “He missed out on a tiny bit of his hand. Now, he’s got a chance to show the coaching staff what he has from last year. I think it’s really big for him.”
Bledsoe’s performance rewarded him later in the week. He split snaps with Marcus Jones and Jack Jones, plus second-year cornerer Shaun Wade on the nickel corner spot, as veteran Jonathan Jones remains on the PUP list with a shoulder injury.
Although Corner Bledsoe does not have a listed position, he was part of a first-team defensive unit that looked very strong for Saturday’s practice. Mack Jones completed just 6-of-12 passes during 11-on-11, catching the ball and scrambling for several plays due to the receiver’s inability to create separation against the secondary.
Bledsoe foresaw any perceived difficulties anyone thought he might have had to play corners during practice.
“We are all versatile,” Bledsoe said. “We can all play at any position and take it hard at the quarterback. We line up in one position once, and then another set comes in, and we switch it up. We are still doing the same. People are just in different places. It’s great.”
Bledsoe isn’t the only youngster in the secondary to stand out in the camp so far. Rookie corners Marcus Jones and Jack Jones have also been in the mix. Jack Jones was thrown to fellow rookie Tyquan Thornton on a Bailey Zappe pass during 7-on-7.
Jones also felt that Saturday was a strong day for the defense.
“Yeah I think so. We came out firing on all cylinders,” Jones said. “The defense came out with juice. After a play by the defense, we just got fed up with that. ,
Jack Jones said he feels “much more comfortable” working with the Patriots at training camp than at minicamp, adding that he has built a foundation for himself that he wants to build.
“I’m still getting my feet wet,” Jones said. “I’m hoping to be just one percent better every day and just top the days. I’m learning something new, so like I said one percent better every day, so I think that’s a great start.” .
Since the minicamp ended in early June, Jones said he’s gained “a few pounds” to help bolster his 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame. Like Bledsoe, Jones also feels versatile, stating that he has no preference if he plays at the outside or inside position as a corner nor if he prefers a zone or man-coverage scheme. .
Like Bledsoe, Jones is proud to come close to the Giants in the Patriots secondary, citing Malcolm Butler as one of the players who has helped him immensely by sitting next to him in meetings.
“They help me with a lot of things in the movie room, off the field,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m asking those people more questions than anyone else. So I mean, I just follow their lead. They know more than me.”
The response early for Bledsoe and Jones has been good, but both players know they are still really early in the season because padded practice doesn’t start until Monday.
,[The coaches] Say I’m doing great. I’m taking it day after day,” Bledsoe said.
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