Brady knows it will take time for the veteran and the rookies to develop a trust.
“It goes both ways,” he said. “It’s them trusting me that I’m going to put the ball in a position for them to catch up and not get hit so they can do things full speed and not worry about if I’m throwing them into something. It’s just a lot of work. It’s just a lot of repetition.
“You’ve just got to put the work in and you’ve got to put the time in, and we’ve been doing certainly a lot of that. I can’t remember a year where we’ve spent as much time together as we’ve spent since the spring and it’s going to pay off at some point.”
It would help if Brady had Gronkowski, of course.
“It’s a little tough,” Dobson said, “Whatever situation we’re in, we’ve just got to keep improving.”
So does the two-time MVP quarterback.
“The burden’s on all of us,” Brady said. “It’s not the receiver position. It’s the quarterback position, most importantly. That’s what I need to focus on. The better I am out there, the better we’re going to be as an offense.”
Gronkowski is upbeat about his progress during the past three weeks.
“Oh, big time, definitely,” he said, “just progressing every single week, progressing significantly since last week and that’s all I can ask for.”
He had 42 catches for 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 2010, then was chosen for the Pro Bowl the next two seasons when he totaled 145 catches for 2,117 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also scored on a run in 2011.
But he missed five games after breaking his left forearm last Nov. 18 against the Indianapolis Colts, then rebroke it in the AFC divisional win over the Houston Texans that forced him to miss the AFC title game loss to the Baltimore Ravens.