By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Tom Brady isn’t at Patriots OTAs this week, and neither is one of his potential top tight ends.
According to Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald on Twitter, Austin Seferian-Jenkins will miss this week’s session of OTAs as an excused absence. The Patriots started the current phase of their offseason program on Monday and continue on Tuesday and Thursday this week. They will reconvene on May 29-30 and then the final two OTAs will take place on June 10-11, after mandatory minicamp.
This week’s OTAs are particularly important compared to others. It’s the first opportunity for the coaches to get new players acclimated to the system and install plays and packages for the passing game. This is where Brian Hoyer’s importance to the operation comes in. With Brady absent, the Patriots need a competent quarterback who understands their system to help rookies and other new faces learn as much as they can.
The veteran tight end will find himself a step behind the others with his absence this week. But the depth chart at that position is as wide-open as any on the roster, so there’s a chance that it doesn’t affect his chances of making the team at all. The returning Ben Watson is probably the closest thing to a roster lock.
Seferian-Jenkins is no safe bet to make it through the offseason unscathed, anyway. He has always struggled to stay healthy in his career. But his relative experience and untapped potential as a pass-catcher still make him an intriguing low-risk, high-reward piece for the Patriots this season.
His absence from passing camp can’t possibly help him. But like just about any obstacle thrown the Patriots’ way, it certainly won’t make a dent in their chances of getting back to the Super Bowl.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.