The Patriots won’t have wide receiver Julian Edelman in the lineup at all during the 2017 season after Edelman tore his ACL during Friday night’s game against the Lions and that will require some changes to the way the offense operates in New England.
Edelman has led the team in targets in three of the last four seasons and led all wide receivers in targets in 2015 despite missing seven games, so there’s going to be a lot of work to parcel out to others in the weeks and months to come. That makes it sound a bit easier than it will actually be, however, because Edelman got a lot of those targets thanks to being totally in tune with what Tom Brady is looking for in the passing game.
“When you have that level of experience of game situations, practices, we’ve had so many hours of time together talking about routes and situations,” Brady said on “Kirk and Callahan” on WEEI. “So much of quarterback-receiver relationship is about trust and I see things a certain way and the receivers need to see it the exact same way in order for me to really anticipate where to go with the ball. He and I just have had that. We’ve worked together since — this is our ninth year on the same team and talking about the same offense. We’re so in sync.”
Brady said the team will “have to find a different way” to move the ball this year and there are several places he can go with the ball. Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell all have experience with Brady while Brandin Cooks was acquired to bring a somewhat different look to the wide receiving corps. There’s also tight end Rob Gronkowski, of course, and he provides a lot of cover for Brady as long as he’s healthy.
The Chiefs and everyone else will get a chance to see how they sort things out in 10 days.