Bramlet looks to impress


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – As the only quarterback at the New England Patriots’ rookie minicamp, Corey Bramlet is relishing the spotlight.

“It’s kind of nice to be able to take all the reps and get into the offense,” said Bramlet, an undrafted free agent from Wyoming. “It’s a good way to start learning. I just have to take advantage of it.”

With backup Doug Flutie mulling retirement at age 43, the Patriots could have a roster spot available. Third-stringer Matt Cassel was a seventh-round draft pick last season, and Todd Mortensen is playing in NFL Europe.

“I feel like I’m in a great situation, a great spot,” Bramlet said. “I couldn’t be more happy to be here right now.”

Bramlet is getting to throw to the Patriots’ new offensive weapons, including running back Laurence Maroney, a first-round pick from Minnesota, and receiver Chad Jackson, a second-rounder from Florida.

Maroney caught only 21 passes in college, although he has shown soft hands at the minicamp. Jackson, who tied a school record with 88 receptions last season, has caught everything thrown his way this weekend.

“He’s amazing,” Bramlet said of Jackson. “Big, physical guy. He runs great routes, real fast.”

The Patriots also added two pass-catching tight ends in the draft, third-rounder David Thomas of Texas and fourth-rounder Garrett Mills of Tulsa.

Thomas set the Longhorns’ career records for catches (88), receiving yards (1,279) and touchdowns (15) by a tight end. Mills had 1,235 receiving yards as a senior, an NCAA record for a tight end.

“Their hands are unbelievable,” Bramlet said of his new teammates. “It’s nice to be able to throw to big targets like this. And they catch everything. They saved me a couple of times. If (the throw) is high or low, they’ll go make the catch.”

Bramlet’s older brother Casey set multiple passing records as a four-year starter at Wyoming, and is on the Washington Redskins’ roster.

Corey Bramlet followed him into the lineup as a junior in 2004 and led the Cowboys to their first bowl victory in 38 years – 24-21 over UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Wyoming finished 4-7 last season, and the younger Bramlet ended his career with more interceptions (31) than touchdowns (29).

“A lot of it is just decision making,” he said. “Obviously, I need to get better at that.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Bramlet “has done some good things” at the camp, which continues on Monday. Bramlet said he felt much more comfortable on Sunday with a couple of practice sessions under his belt.

“(Saturday) was kind of a struggle mentally a little bit,” Bramlet said. “But I feel like I’m throwing the ball well. I took a big step today as far as mentally getting things going. I feel like I’m definitely on the right track.”