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Rookie receiver Javon Baker shines in practice for Patriots

Patriots rookie wide receiver Javon Baker made some highlights during OTAs for the Patriots on Wednesday. Paul Connors/Boston Herald

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With the ball floating through the air, Javon Baker shot down the left sideline with a cornerback tight around his hip. When the safety came down to help, Baker jumped in the air and grabbed the ball from the two defenders.

When the rookie receiver landed, he planted his foot and sprinted into the end zone, celebrating with a nearby teammate.

Last week, Patriots coach Jerod Mayo said if Baker was going to brag about his abilities, he should show it on the field. Mayo told the Central Florida rookie to walk the walk after Baker declared he was going to put on a show at Gillette Stadium.

It’s still early, but on Wednesday Baker did just that. The fourth-round pick easily looked like one of the Patriots’ top receivers during a two-hour session at OTAs. Baker caught three passes, all from Jacoby Brissett, with two highlight plays.

“Oh man, he made some plays today. He’s getting better and better,” Brissett said. “Obviously he’s someone we’re looking forward to seeing what he can become. He does a good job of getting better every day, taking over coaching from the meeting room and the field and trying not to make the same mistake twice. At this point, that’s all you can ask for.”

The first highlight-reel catch, which he ran for a touchdown, was the fourth play of the Patriots’ seven-on-seven drill, pitting Brissett and his unit against the team’s top defensive players. Three plays later, Baker did it again.

This time, Brissett threw a deep ball to Baker, who was well covered by cornerback Marco Wilson. The rookie jumped into the air again and grabbed the ball from the defensive back.

That success with Brissett translated into exercises for the entire team. The veteran cornerback hit Baker on a short pass near the right sideline. The rookie caught the ball, made a move to get past the defensive back and then flew up the sideline, displaying an impressive ability to run after the catch.

“That’s how you build confidence, by going out there and trying things out and seeing what guys can do, and seeing what plays guys can make,” Brissett said. “Stuff like that. It was good to see him go up there and do that.

“… He’s obviously a good route runner and has good hands. He can go up there and make plays like he did today. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else he can do.”

The Patriots drafted Baker and fellow receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, hoping to revamp their receiving room and add strength to their offense.

BRIAN BELICHICK saw this offseason when his father, Bill Belichick, mutually parted ways with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Then his older brother, Steve Belichick, left the organization to become a defensive coordinator at the University of Washington.

Instead of leaving and starting a new chapter, Brian Belichick chose to return to the Patriots and work for Jerod Mayo. The new head coach admitted it was a difficult situation, but noted that the youngest Belichick son handled the situation “in the right way.”

For Brian Belichick, returning to New England was an easy decision after his wife Callie gave birth to their daughter in the offseason.

“I was grateful and happy to have the opportunity to coach here, and I was grateful and happy to be able to take advantage of this and let (Mayo) run with it,” Brian Belichick said Wednesday.

“I am experiencing a lot of gratitude in my life right now with my daughter, my work, my presence here and my life in this area. I love it. I just hope I can contribute to helping us become the best team we can this year.”

Like his brother Steve, Brian Belichick grew up coaching in the Patriots organization. After graduating from Trinity College in 2016, he joined the organization as a scouting assistant. The following year he became an assistant coach. In 2020, he earned a promotion to safeties coach.

After his father left the organization, Brian Belichick said he talked to him about being in New England and being on Mayo’s staff.

He noted that he continues to talk to his father about his job and this year’s Patriots team.

Brian Belichick also said that not working with his father has improved their relationship.

“This is getting a little personal about our family dynamics, but in a way I think it was good for us to have some distance from being in a football building every day and seeing each other,” Brian Belichick said. “While now we are not only connected through football. Not that it used to be that way, but we talk about different things because we are in different places and not in the same place every day. There’s a lot to talk about about football, so it was hard not to get caught up in that when you saw each other at work every day.”


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