The New England Patriots amped up their defense in the offseason, and even though the first preseason game displayed a poor defensive outing, the Patriots should fare just fine on this side of the ball. Offensively, however, the Patriots still need work. Both the passing and rushing games were less than perfect last season, and many of the key players on the offense are still with the Patriots today. All signs point to the rushing game needing improvement, meaning it will be the wide receivers and tight ends who will need to step up if they hope to live up to the standards that have already been set for them.
Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman could be the Patriots’ version of the “Big 3” if all can remain healthy and consistent. Edelman was one of few members of the offense who had a solid 2013 season while Amendola struggled. Both, however, have played exceptionally well in training camp as of late, leaving fans with glimmers of hope that perhaps the impending season could be a great one for the wide receivers.
Gronkowski is nearly always great when he is healthy, so this is obviously the key to his success. Having him back with the team should help boost the offense simply because of his presence. The team as a whole just seems to play better when he is on the field. Gronkowski, who did not take part in joint practices last week with the Washington Redskins and didn’t play in the team’s first preseason game, is expected to practice this week. Gronkowski said on Sunday that he is still not cleared for contact, but he will no doubt be the difference between a subpar offense and a pretty good one when he does finally play.
The Patriots simply have more weapons in the passing game. Tom Brady pulling the trigger at quarterback has a lot to do with this as well, but as fans saw last year, having a great quarterback doesn’t guarantee the offense catching the ball. With Amendola seemingly more comfortable in his second year with New England and Gronkowski making his way back from injury, the pass should be a bright spot for the Patriots’ offense.