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Pats experiment with switching QB Etling to WR

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots coach Invoice Belichick, who has a noteworthy record of experimenting with players in distinct positions, has thinned out the team’s quarterback depth chart by switching previous LSU starter Danny Etling to vast receiver.

The Patriots selected Etling in the seventh spherical of the 2018 NFL draft, and he expended his rookie time on the apply squad.

“We usually knew Danny could participate in diverse positions. I often utilized to joke with him and contact him Taysom Hill,” receiver Phillip Dorsett claimed.

Hill’s dual quarterback/H-again part with the New Orleans Saints established a problem for opposing defenses in 2018, as the Saints ran 175 snaps with two quarterbacks on the discipline. The probability of the Patriots carrying out a little something comparable with Tom Brady and Etling looks like a lengthy shot, but training camp is a time for experimentation.

“Everybody has a lot of distinctive roles on this team, and I am no exception,” stated Etling, who was a four-star quarterback recruit coming out of Terre Haute, Indiana, and commenced his college or university occupation at Purdue. “I am thrilled to proceed to maintain seeking to find a diverse purpose for myself and do no matter what the coaches ask me to do.”

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Etling also took observe repetitions on particular teams Thursday, which is an additional place in which Hill (6-2, 221) contributes to the Saints. That’s also how Julian Edelman at first created the Patriots’ roster as a rookie in 2009 when he was transitioning from college quarterback at Kent State to wide receiver/punt returner in the NFL.

Edelman also played cornerback early in his career, a posture change other Patriots receivers have designed under Belichick, these as staff hall of famer Troy Brown. Belichick also famously had quarterback Doug Flutie try a dropkick in the course of the 2005 year.

In Thursday’s exercise, Etling nonetheless wore his No. 5 jersey, but the variance was that it was no longer the coloration red, which is what quarterbacks put on to signify they are not to be strike.

The present-day Patriots quarterback depth chart was bolstered when the group chosen Auburn‘s Jarrett Stidham in the fourth spherical of the 2019 draft (No. 133 total). With Brady, veteran Brian Hoyer and Stidham locked into the leading three spots, Etling was pushed down a notch.

Aspect of what initially drew the Patriots to Etling as a rookie was his determination-creating. As a senior at LSU, he accomplished 165 of 275 pass tries for 2,463 yards, with 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. In his rookie NFL time on the team’s practice squad, Etling traveled to road online games — which is not the norm for apply-squad players — and assisted on the sideline.

Etling reported he has under no circumstances performed receiver just before, but with the Patriots transitioning on offense soon after the retirement of limited finish Rob Gronkowski and with a revamped getting corps, he’s open to the swap.

“I have coached it a lot becoming a quarterback, and I have an understanding of offensive football, and it truly is aided me get a different perspective of the game by itself,” he mentioned.

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