If the Patriots’ fears are realized regarding the knee injury suffered on Friday night by receiver Julian Edelman, it provides a blow to the popular belief that, a year from now, the Pats will be handing Banner No. 6. But it’s hardly a devastating one.
The Patriots have a bevy of other offensive weapons, a plethora of brainpower when it comes to deploying them, and a quarterback who is the best to ever play the game — and who is still at the top of his game even at 40. Yes, it will hurt to lose Edelman for the season, if that’s what happens. But the Patriots will adjust, as they always do. And they will thrive, as they always do.
But it won’t be easy or automatic.
“We’ve played together for a long time,” quarterback Tom Brady told reporters after the game. “I think there is great chemistry in what we are doing and he is just an incredible player and teammate and we’re all hoping for the best. Hopefully he can, you know, hopefully whatever tests they have to do, come back positively. We’ll try to do our best to kind of, you know, lift his spirits if we can and see what happens.”
If Edelman is out, the Patriots will need to replace Edelman in the slot. It’s likely a role that will be filled by multiple receivers, especially since they have so many who can do it — even if none can do it as well as Edelman.
Last year, the Patriots got to the Super Bowl and won it without tight end Rob Gronkowski. So the Edelman injury is hardly insurmountable.
But with the start of the regular season still two weeks away, it’s a stark reminder of how injuries can change everything for any team, including the presumptive Super Bowl LII champions.