“That’s where a lot of players, I’d say almost all players make a big jump—whether that is reflective in their status on the field, that’s another question. But just from a development as a football player, that second year is a big year. It’s a great opportunity for them to take that first-year knowledge that they don’t have as a rookie and be able to apply it in their job now.”

Bill Belichick.


The head coach of the New England Patriots often stresses the importance of making sure that a player is constantly progressing in his skill set and evolving his talents. A player’s biggest jump will be from year one to year two, BB is credited with saying. Many reasons factor into this. Familiarity in the system, a normal player off-season, NFL quality nutrition and strength training, among others.


On the Patriots there is one individual poised to make the most of his opportunity. He is part of a future trivia question: what team had not one, but two sets of twins on its roster and what season? The answer is the New England Patriots and the 2018 offseason. Time will tell if all four of them make the team. But Devin McCourty is a lock, and his brother Jason is not too far behind him. The other twins are a little more obscure. Cody Hollister is a wide receiver who spent his rookie year on the practice squad. His roster spot is always tenuous. The competition for the wide receivers will be fierce during training camp. His brother has a much clearer path.

Making the Most of It

Jacob Hollister already beat out one NFLer for a roster spot his rookie season. Late in camp last year, Jacob won the third tight end spot after the team cut James O’Shaughnessy. Hollister saw action sparingly as Gronk stayed healthy and Dwayne Allen contributed as a good blocker all season long. Tallying only 4 catches for 42 yards, his rookie season was still a valuable learning experience. He is showing up in offseason activities ready to compete.

The Skill Set

The Patriots have him listed at 239 pounds and 6’4″. The reviews from around the latest mini camp are that he has added some really good weight. He worked with Kevin Boss in Oregon to increase his skills as an in-line blocker. The increased familiarity of the system will aid him in his quest for a covered NFL roster spot. He seemed to take advantage of Gronk’s decision to sit out voluntary activities and put himself at the head of the pack heading into training camp.

“I think it’s just becoming reliable and earn the trust of your teammates,” Hollister said. “Obviously, you’ve got to earn the trust of your quarterback and earn the trust of everyone on the team, really.”

And he’s obviously been reading the Patriots manual on talking to the media as well.

The Mission

Carving a role for Hollister is key to making the roster for his sophomore season. Backing up Gronk and being a viable option for three TE sets will go a long way in keeping the offense balanced and the formations complex. The key to this is his blocking ability. If he proves that he can hold his own against the professionals on defense, he’s a lock for the third tight end spot at least. And should Gronk or Allen miss extended time at all, we could hearing his name a lot more this season.