Danny Etling addresses position change, acknowledges he has a lot to learn

Ryan Hannable
July 25, 2019 - 1:26 pm

FOXBORO -- When the Patriots ran onto the field for Day 1 of training camp, there was something different about Danny Etling.

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The LSU product, who was selected in the seventh round by the Patriots last year, was still No. 5, but he wore a white jersey instead of the red, non-contact jersey quarterbacks always wear. During the spring we saw him work on the punt team, but that role was expanded Thursday when he did quite a bit of work with the wide receivers.

Standing behind Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and rookie Jarrett Stidham on the quarterbacks depth chart, it appears Etling is getting a position change as a way to give him the best chance of making the team.

“It seems that way," he said afterwards. "Everyone has a lot of different roles on this team and I am no exception. I am excited to keep trying to find a different role for myself, do whatever the coaches ask me to do, and keep learning from the leaders in front of me.”

Etling added: “I think I have always kind of known, especially last season, that week-to-week you are going to have different roles and responsibilities. One thing is definitely for sure in football that there is constant change. You definitely want to continue to develop as many skills and talents as you can to help the team and help your role expand.”

The former quarterback, who spent last season on the practice squad, acknowledged he's never played receiver before, but he feels being a quarterback he knows a ton about the offense and that should help with the transition, along with help from his teammates.

Reading into some of his comments, he may have actually saw some time at the position last season.

“Again, just like last season, I had different roles each week. They had me doing different things," Etling said. "I just continue to try and learn those different intricate parts of the offense and try to carve out a role of playing receiver, learning the details and getting more comfortable in that role and whatever the role the coaches have me play.”

Some might say after being a quarterback his entire life and now getting a position change it might be viewed as being a failure, but not Etling.

"I wouldn’t think so, no," he said. "I love football. I love playing football. I am out here in a NFL training camp getting to play for the Patriots and getting to find a new role for myself and getting coached by some of the greatest coaches and getting to be teammates with some of the greatest teammates of all-time. I have really enjoyed being part of this team and I am willing to do whatever it takes in order to do that and to keep becoming a better football player.”

This will certainly be something to watch as training camp gets going and if he shows signs of improving as a wide receiver so perhaps the team could find a way to keep him around.

Related: Patriots training camp observations, Day 1: Isaiah Wynn still not full-go at left tackle