We sit almost a week away from opening day in the NFL and the Patriots still have massive concerns at the wide receiver position.
Analysts around the league have been saying that this is the worst group Tom Brady has ever had to work with…but I strongly disagree.
In the 2006, 2013, and even 2001 seasons I think Brady had MUCH less to work with. He still has the best tight end of all time at his side, a stable of versatile backs, and his trusty squirrel friend in Julian Edelman. However Edelman will be out the first four weeks so things may get dicey for the first quarter of the season.
A week from this Sunday the Patriots will deploy a group of receivers led by Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett…yeesh. But like I said, Gronkowski and backs like James White really hide the lack of skill at the receiver position.
Brady seems to have developed some sort of chemistry with Dorsett and that was seen in last week’s preseason game against Carolina. If the talented Cordarelle Patterson can get on the same page with Brady then they have enough to get through those first four weeks.
So on paper they’ve got: Edelman, Hogan, Dorsett, Patterson…followed by a whole bunch of crap that may not even make the team. All in all that’s not that bad of a group for Brady to work with. The real problem comes when one of those guys gets banged up or injured which is very likely to happen given their history.
There’s been some chatter about the Patriots reaching out and trading for someone like Golden Tate but I think that is very unlikely even though Belichick is famous for making trades either right before or early in the season. Last year it was Jacoby Brisset for Phillip Dorsett just days before their opener, in 2014 it was dealing Logan Mankins to Tampa for Tim Wright and a pick, and in 2009 it was sending Richard Seymour to Oakland for a pick.
Tim Wright was okay in 2014 during New England’s title run but the only times an early season Belichick trade have really worked out were in 2012 when they got Aqib Talib from the Buccaneers and in 2010 when they received old friend Deion Branch back from the Seahawks.
Not saying it’s impossible but recent Belichick trades haven’t really panned out… i.e. Cassius Marsh and Kony Ealy.
I’m comfortable with what the Pats currently have but it’d be really nice to go see them get a piece to contribute.
P.S.- With each passing day the Brandin Cooks trade looks worse and worse for the Pats…