For weeks now, New England Patriots fans have been wondering who will step up for the team offensively. Zach Sudfeld looked like a prime breakout candidate until Rob Gronkowski was ready to come back. That was until a hamstring injury kept him out of action last week.
Now, Sudfeld has participated fully in practice for the past two days. It looks like he will be given the green light to play on Sunday because of this.
Although rookie receivers Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce will be very important in this game, as I have previously stated, Sudfeld could be the most important pass catcher on the field. The reason for this being that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to lack the ability to defend against opposing tight ends.
In the first two weeks of the season, the Bucs have allowed 18 receptions for a whopping 256 yards and two touchdowns to tight ends. Even though the team did play against the always dangerous Jimmy Graham in Week 2, who accounted for 179 yards and one of the touchdowns, it is still a tough pill for the Bucs’ defense to swallow.
This is especially true when you consider that in Week 1 the Bucs allowed 79 yards and a touchdown to New York Jets TE Kellen Winslow, who has been mediocre, at best, with 95 yards total in his first two games.
Sudfeld, in my opinion, is a better player than Winslow at this stage of their respective careers. He could do some damage this week, provided he is not limited by his hamstring injury. He is certainly a guy that could provide a plethora of targets, and a security blanket for Tom Brady this week if he is healthy.
Assuming that Gronk will sit out again Sunday, and with Julian Edelman probably being covered by Darrelle Revis, Sudfeld could be left open on several occasions.
If he can take advantage, the Patriots might be able to ride him to victory on Sunday. The Patriots need to get him involved as often as possible, since points will most likely be hard to come by in this game.