Patriots WR Gunner Olszewski has been consulting franchise legend Troy Brown.
Outside of Julian Edelman, who’s fresh off arguably his most productive season in the NFL last year, the New England Patriots’ wide receiving corps is a legitimate crapshoot.
The likes of Mohamed Sanu and N’Keal Harry have a ton to prove after a injury-riddled 2019 campaigns. Elsewhere, unproven commodities Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski will have to bust their tails for the remainder of training camp to earn consistent playing time.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, just one of those five players has been receiving glowing reviews from the coaching staff since the start of camp, and chances are it isn’t the guy you’d expect.
Just a few days after All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore lauded Olszewski for his development from last season, the second-year cornerback-turned-wideout revealed that he’s been consulting franchise legend Troy Brown for tips on receiving as well as returning punts/kicks.
“I’ve asked him (Troy Brown) almost every question there is about how he used to catch punts, what exactly he looks for,” Olszewski told reporters during a video conference after practice on Sunday. “I’ve probably bugged the heck out of him with some of the questions I’ve asked him. But he’s done a great job just answering all those questions from all us returners. There’s a lot of young guys back there that haven’t returned many punts in the league. So of course, I’m always looking for any advantage I can get.”
This quote should be music to Patriots fans’ ears. Talk about a player who’s absolutely obsessed with improving his craft, and there’s no doubting that this is resonating with head coach Bill Belichick, who is equally engrossed with brainstorming/building upon winning formulas.
The 23-year-old receiver landed on injured reserve last November with separate ankle and hamstring injuries. Before that, however, he was making the most of his opportunities as the Patriots lead punt returner, averaging 9.0 yards on 20 attempts, which was good for the sixth-best mark in the league at the time.
It’s clear that New England would like Olszewski to assume his role as the team’s primary return man. While it remains to be seen if the Patriots plan to utilize him more as a receiver in 2020, the fanbase should be thrilled to hear that he’s been seeking the advice of Brown, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest return specialists (and wide receivers) in franchise history.