It’s clear that the New England Patriots offense struggles against some of the better defenses in the NFL. Some Patriots fans point to the fact that tight end Rob Gronkowski is missing. While Gronkowski’s absence has surely hurt the offense, his return won’t be a complete cure.
The biggest problem is that there isn’t much talent behind Gronkowski. Wide receiver Danny Amendola is talented, but he has only played in parts of two games so far. Yesterday, Amendola played in just 38 out of 63 offensive snaps. Obviously his groin injury is slowing him down.
There has been nobody that has stepped up as the No. 2 wide receiver behind Amendola. In terms of consistent production, one could argue that Julian Edelman is that guy. However, Edelman is not talented enough to be a No. 2 receiver in this league. If you add that to the fact that it’s redundant to have him play alongside Amendola in three-receiver packages, you get a recipe that is not made for success. Simply put, Edelman is a slot receiver only. He should be the slot receiver if Amendola isn’t on the field, or only line up next to Amendola is four-receiver packages.
Then we have the two rookie wide receivers. So far, Kenbrell Thompkins has outproduced Aaron Dobson, but it hasn’t been by much. Thompkins has had two good games and three awful ones. Dobson has shown that he’s raw, but he has flashed big-play ability in two of the four games that he’s played in. Somebody’s got to make a move in this battle, or else the offense will be devoid of a true No. 2 receiver.
Gronkowski will provide a boost in receiving, especially in the red zone. But if nobody else emerges opposite him, then opposing defenders can key in on the injury-prone tight end. And the last thing that quarterback Tom Brady needs is to become predictable. So one shouldn’t suddenly expect the Patriots offense t0 explode onto the scene once Gronk returns.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.