Jake Ballard finally feeling like a Patriot


For Jake Ballard, last year was like being a rookie again.

But instead of working as a member of the Giants practice squad when he knew he wouldn’t play, he was rehabbing with a team he barely knew, after being claimed by the Patriots shortly after tearing his ACL.

Now, he’s getting plenty of work, but he admitted it took him some time to get used to the idea he played in New England and not New York.

“Absolutely. The first couple of days it was kind of shocking and abrupt,” Ballard said, via Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com. “I heard [about being claimed] and the next morning I was on a plane to Boston, it was pretty crazy.

I’m absolutely a Patriot through and through. I enjoy being here, I enjoy being around the coaches and everybody is great.”

With Rob Gronkowski (forearm, back) and Aaron Hernandez (shoulder) out of OTAs, Ballard’s getting plenty of time to catch up.

He admitted the layoff helped, giving him a year to absorb a new playbook when he knew he wouldn’t be playing.

“I think it helps tremendously,” he said. “My first year I was on the practice squad in New York and I had a chance to study that offense for a year then came out the next year and played. It’s kind of like the same thing here, I was watching all of last year and just looking over the playbook and mainly doing rehab, but I got a sense of what the offense was about and now with the OTAs and our meeting sessions, it’s really helped a lot.

“The mental aspect of the game is the easy part. I’m just trying to get out here and feel comfortable again running again, playing with guys I haven’t played with and playing against defensive guys I’ve only played against a couple of times.”

While he looked like an unusual pickup last year, the Patriots could end up needing him this year. And having his knee healed and the time to get him trained in their ways will only help.

7 responses to “Jake Ballard finally feeling like a Patriot

  1. Say what you want but picking this guy off the waiver wire was – pure genius.

    Not sure why Giants would expose him that way.

  2. If he is finally feeling like a Patriot, then he is finally feeling like a cheater…….. Btw, how many titles have the cheaters won since getting caught?

  3. just smart moves. they signed gronk long term knowing he might only see 10 some games a year. Ballard for free? Now with gronk possibly being an injury problem all year, ballard could be seeing time as the 2nd TE, I predict he catches 30-40 passes this year.

    this is why the pats won a super bowl, not because they cheat, but because they just make good personnel decisions more than they make bad ones.

  4. I think the Patriots not winning a superbowl since their last one has more to do with Crennel leaving. Their defenses during his tenure won them a lot of games, And I’m sure they would’ve beaten both Giants teams had they employed a defensive coordinator with equal abilities.

  5. Ballard is a straight up beast, when all three of these tight ends are on the field it will be scary and I’m sure they will be quite difficult to stop from a defensive point of view.

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