New England Patriots: Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins Aren’t Going to Cut It


Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots squeezed out a 13-10 win over the New York Jets last night in one of the ugliest football games I have ever seen. The Patriots’ offense was a disaster, and the only reason they won was the fact that the Jets’ offense was an even bigger disaster. Without top receiving threats Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins were given their first major test.

The result? They failed, miserably. By my count Dobson had four drops and Thompkins had two, and each was out of place on numerous routes. Tom Brady was visibly upset with his young wideouts at multiple points, and they struggled throughout the night.

Don’t let the box score stats fool you. Dobson was horrible, and Thompkins wasn’t much better. To be fair, neither has any experience, but catching the ball is catching the ball. That is the one thing rookie receivers shouldn’t have a problem with. The Patriots were crippled offensively without any outside receiving threats, and this problem doesn’t figure to go away.

Don’t think the return of Amendola and Gronk will fix all the Pats’ problems. Both of those two players almost exclusively work the middle of the field, as does Julian Edelman. Without a legitimate outside presence, there simply won’t be enough space for those three players to operate at maximum effectiveness.

The rookies will get better as they get more reps and continue to learn the playbook. However, their performance tonight showed just how far they have to go. The Patriots need to consider bringing in a veteran, such as Brandon Lloyd, to provide an outside threat. Dobson and Thompkins have potential, but right now they are crippling the Patriots’ passing attack.

The Pats have nothing that resembles an effective run game, so they have to rely heavily on the pass. However, unless these young receivers improve dramatically, even Brady can’t make this group nearly as good as the Patriots have been the last few seasons.

Patriot fans can say 2-0 is 2-0 all they like, but the reality is the team barely managed wins against the Jets and Buffalo Bills, who project to be two of the worst teams in the NFL. Anyone who thinks that this version of the Patriots can hang with Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers is delusional.

Something has to change for New England at receiver, because right now, they aren’t even close to being a Super Bowl contender.

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  • caltenn11

    Who are you to judge, Sulik!! In case you missed the news, Brandon LLoyd has already turned down the Patriots and 4 other teams..Perhaps you should give up pontificating and read up on what is going on!!

    • Greg Sulik

      Everyone has a price, and I’m betting Lloyd does too. And I’m not making
      up the fact they dropped the ball, all you have to do is watch the
      game. Patriot fans may not want to admit it, but this team is far from perfect.

      • caltenn11

        I am a Niner fan..Just can’t stand you so called journalists with your knives out on 2nd game rookies..Did you knock Brady on his second start, and he had been around for a year?? It has become the sports writers mode to be hyper-critical..Why don’t you try constructive criticism rather than judging 2 mens futures on there first 2 games??

        • Greg Sulik

          First of all, Brady is a unique and exceptional story and comparing any rookie to an all time great isn’t fair. Secondly, I never said that these players would turn out to have lousy careers, in fact I think both are going to be very good players. What I did say, is that the Patriots cannot win the Super Bowl with the level of wide receiver play they got last night, which I stand by. Rookie receivers take time, especially in an offense as complex as New England’s. However, the Patriots don’t have the luxury of bringing them along slowly, and they are not ready to be contributors on a Super Bowl contender.

          • caltenn11

            You missed the point..I was bringing up Bradys first two games as a starter..Tom Bradys first 2 game QB ratings were 68 and 58..If “you ” had written about him at that time, with how you judged these 2 rookies, guess you would have said Brady couldn’t cut it..I think that was your headline on these players..You have no idea what these receivers future will be..Neither do I..I am not going to judge their career yet..You, in your article, implied that they are inadequate..I believe that as the Pats receiving core regain health that hese rookies will also grow into their roles..I will judge them at the end of the year..Not the beginning..

          • Greg Sulik

            Of course I have no idea what their careers will be, and I never said I did. I also never said they would have bad careers. When I said they couldn’t cut it, I very specifically meant as the top outside receiving threats for a Super Bowl contender this season. I am not passing any judgement on their career arc at this stage, it would be pointless. I am talking about how they are playing right now and how it relates to this season. I understand how you could have misinterpreted what I meant, but I am in no way, shape or form saying they will never turn out to be good players.

          • caltenn11

            What would you read into a headline that says Greg Sulik can’t cut it?? Just curious..Your headline implied more than your story..I think you are more consumed with being right than you are GETTING IT RIGHT!! I stold that from Colin

          • Greg Sulik

            Haha I think I could say the same to you my friend. You interpreted something different than what I meant, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And for the record, if I was an NFL receiver, I wouldn’t care even a little what some random blogger thinks of me.

          • caltenn11

            I couldn’t agree more..I am sure Dobson and Thomkins will not lose any sleep over your story..Mayb a little last night thinking of todays team meeting with Belichick and practice sessions with Brady..

      • caltenn11

        Bradys QB rating for his second start in 2001 was 58.7..Guess you would have deemed him a failure..

  • Johnny Vicars

    Yeah things were so much better on the outside with Lloyd here…..uh no. The pats have not had a good outside receiver since Moss left, this was an issue last year and the pats chose to fix it with the draft, and it will get better. But stop acting like Jerry Rice is sitting out there and the pats are too stubborn to pick him up.