He solely has two preseason video games underneath his belt, however Patriots rookie Christian Gonzalez has seemed proper at residence in New England’s protection.
However away from the gridiron, it’s clear that the 21-year-old cornerback nonetheless has some work to do with regards to immersing himself within the treasured delicacies discovered throughout New England.
“We don’t [have] a whole lot of Dunkin’ in Dallas, or after I was at Oregon — there weren’t a whole lot of Dunkin Donuts,” Gonzalez admitted after Tuesday’s observe in Foxborough. “Being right here, I positively see one on each nook. It’s totally different. Nonetheless haven’t had it, however possibly I’ll attempt it out.”
Shirking in his obligation to snag an iced common after spending near 4 months throughout the Commonwealth means there’s nonetheless room to develop for Gonzalez, who says he nonetheless misses his beloved fast-food chain again residence in Texas: Whataburger.
After spending most of minicamp as considered one of New England’s beginning outdoors corners, Gonzalez has entrenched himself at that spot on the depth chart because the competitors has ratcheted up throughout preseason video games and scrappy joint practices.
“It was simply a whole lot of enjoyable to have the ability to go up there and observe towards a special group and see totally different receivers and study from them after which study from the vets that inform me what’s coming within the movie room and conferences, then going again on the market and with the ability to observe towards them after which play them within the recreation,” Gonzalez instructed reporters on Tuesday.
Gonzalez’s athleticism and fluidity in protection have been obvious since his first reps on New England’s observe fields, validating New England’s choice to snag the previous Oregon Duck with the seventeenth total choose within the 2023 NFL Draft.
However Gonzalez’s knack for studying on the fly and including some thump to his recreation has allowed him to counter any potential setbacks that current themselves for any rookie studying the ropes over a grueling coaching camp.
Saturday’s efficiency towards the Packers in preseason motion was one other step in the suitable path for Gonzalez.
After getting picked on by Packers QB Jordan Love throughout Wednesday’s joint-practice session, Gonzalez rebounded the next morning, breaking apart a cross on a deep ball to Romeo Doubs.
Having a brief reminiscence is a necessary a part of life as a defensive again within the NFL. And despite the fact that one of many knocks towards Gonzalez has been his lack of physicality, he landed 4 tackles throughout Saturday’s contest at Lambeau Subject.
He additionally was referred to as for a harsh defensive cross interference penalty that ought to have resulted in an interception for New England’s protection.
Whereas in tight protection towards Packers WR Malik Heath, Gonzalez managed to tip the ball on the final second — permitting Brad Hawkins to scoop up the ball for the choose. Gonzalez’s DPI was a fairly ticky-tack name, however the rookie isn’t dwelling on it.
“At this place, you’ve acquired to maneuver on, you’ll be able to’t dwell on one play,” Gonzalez mentioned. “You make a play, transfer on. You miss a play, transfer on. That’s simply form of how the place is and when you surrender a play otherwise you make a play you progress on and study from it, what you probably did or what you didn’t do within the classroom.”
At this stage of the preseason, Gonzalez ought to have a beginning spot on New England’s protection all however shored up.
However despite the fact that the poised defensive again has already carved out an everyday function at this stage of his younger profession, he isn’t taken his quick begin as a right.
“I’m blessed to be right here, to get up and play soccer, that’s actually what I’m pleased with,” Gonzalez mentioned. “I dreamed of it since I used to be a bit of child and it’s right here and it’s occurring. Dwelling within the second, staying within the second and making an attempt to get higher.”
Join Patriots updates🏈
Get breaking information and evaluation delivered to your inbox throughout soccer season.
Keep updated on all the most recent information from Boston.com