New England Patriots' Rookie Receivers Must Step Up Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By Will Gellman
Aaron Dobson
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

With the New England Patriots preparing to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Foxboro on Sunday, the team has taken its fair share of hits to start the year and are clearly banged up for this matchup. Danny Amendola is out and Rob Gronkowski will likely sit again this week as a precaution.

The Patriots have picked the worst possible week to be thin in the receiving core. The Bucs have a very good defense, with players like Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron, among others, manning their secondary. They can match up very well against any of the Patriots’ current receivers.

Even though media coverage regarding the Bucs has been portrayed as mostly negative this week, including several players on the team calling out head coach Greg Schiano, don’t kid yourself.  This is exactly the type of team that could give the Patriots fits.

With all that said, the Patriots must get more consistent production from their rookie receivers in order to win this game. With Revis most likely to be matched up against Julian Edelman, as he has been the team’s most productive pass catcher so far, Edelman should be a non-factor in the game.

As a result, the Buccaneers will have to use lesser defensive backs to cover the likes of Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce.

If the youngsters were to struggle like they have the previous two weeks, the Patriots could be in for a rough game on Sunday. How the rookie pass catchers play could go a long way in determining the final score on Sunday.

Will Gellman is a New England Patriots’ Writer for  Follow him on Twitter @Will_Gellman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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