FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady has learned this year that working with a cadre of inexperienced receivers has been a bit like dealing with his 3-year old son, Benjamin.
During his weekly Wednesday news conference, the Patriots quarterback, on the eve of the official start of his 14th season, said he’s been working on his patience as he tries to integrate so many new teammates into the offense.
“Some guys haven’t experienced the things that I’ve experienced, so you try to talk about, ‘OK, this is possibly going to happen, if it happens then I want you to make this adjustment,’ ” Brady said. “Well, it happens and then the adjustment’s not made and I say, ‘Well, I told you . . . ’ But sometimes that’s what I do with my 3-year old, too, and he doesn’t listen either.”
But the process is also teaching Brady how to be a better communicator, judging whether he’s getting his message across properly by the feedback he’s getting from his teammates.
Rookie receivers Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and Kenbrell Thompkins all offer something different in terms of skill set, but there are definitely things they have in common, Brady said.
“They’re all excitable players, guys that are really willing to work hard by doing the right thing, by listening to the coaching they’re getting,” he said. “But everyone feels really great about how far they’ve come, because they’ve really worked hard and they deserve the opportunity that they have.
“So hopefully they all play a big role in the regular season. But we’ll see how that goes, and we’re going to do what we need to do to win games and hopefully those players are a big part of the reason why we do it.”
Though Brady’s arguably seen everything in his career, he said being with so many young players reenergizes him, and also puts him in a situation different than any one he’s been in before.
“There’s a newness to that,” he said. “There’s a newness in the teaching and the learning and the work that we’ve done over the course of the years. There’s a lot of things that I’ve done this year that I’ve never done in the past that’s been new for me, in terms of the learning and the meetings and the extra time spent, so that’s all good for me, too.”
Brady even finds himself grabbing the remote in the meeting room, he explained, going over plays with the receivers, and getting the chance to look at things from a different perspective.
“I said to [offensive coordinator] Josh [McDaniels] yesterday; I was meeting with the receivers and I said, ‘I can understand,’ because when you’re holding the clicker and going over play after play after play,” Brady said. “I mean, you can go through 70-80 plays, and when you’re holding the clicker you just keep teaching. It’s great.
“And when you’re listening, you’re like, ‘God, when are we done?’ ” — he dropped his head back for dramatic effect — “And then you get done, and when you’re holding the clicker, you don’t feel like you’ve covered anything.”
Some of the players understand what Brady’s showing them a little quicker than the others, but “it’s just a matter of doing it. Hopefully it’s good enough.”
Manuel to start
The Bills announced Wednesday morning that rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel had progressed well enough from minor knee surgery a couple of weeks earlier that he would start against the Patriots Sunday.
Manuel said on a conference call that first-year head coach Doug Marrone told him Tuesday night that he wanted him to start.
“I did another workout and Coach felt, and obviously I felt, that I was ready to go,” Manuel said. “But I just wanted to show him I was able to run and protect myself when things break down in the pocket, and I think he was able to make that decision.”
Had the team felt Manuel wasn’t ready, another rookie, undrafted Washington State product Jeff Tuel, would have made the start.
“I’ve said before that we had the time frame of if he was able to come back [in time for the opener] and get him ready then we’d make the decision,” Marrone said. “Then obviously the rehabilitation period moved up. I don’t think this shocks anyone about E.J. being our starting quarterback.”
Manuel began his first training camp in competition with veteran Kevin Kolb, whom Buffalo signed in April. But Kolb first injured his knee in camp and then suffered a season-ending concussion, essentially giving the job to Manuel, the 16th overall pick in the draft.
The Jets finally announced Wednesday that Geno Smith would start their opener, against Tampa Bay, meaning it’s likely the Patriots will face rookie quarterbacks in their first two games.
Kline is back
The Patriots swapped practice squad players, signing offensive lineman Josh Kline and releasing linebacker Jeff Tarpinian. Both players were with the team through training camp, and Kline was initially on the 53-man roster Saturday night before being released Monday . . . New England has the longest current season-opening win streak, winning in Week 1 for nine straight years. If the Patriots win Sunday in Buffalo to run their streak to 10, they’ll tie the 1930-39 Detroit Lions/Portsmouth Spartans for the third-longest such mark in league history.