2019 Pats Offense: What Do We Make of It?

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
22,134
Melrose, MA
The Pats have opened the season with 3 blowouts against 3 terrible teams. But the story hasn't been the same for the defense and the offense.

The D looks like it may be a historically great unit. Hard to know for sure until they play some teams with good offenses, but there is nothing more the D could have done against the teams they did play beyond holding all 3 teams to one FG between them.

With the offense, it is different. They have been beset by injuries and other personnel issues (most notablty at OL and WR), leading to struggles in both the running and passing games. Yes, they have put up 92 points (not counting the defense's 2 TDs) in 3 games, but at times they have struggled.

On the line, they have been missing 2-3 starters (Andrews, Wynn, and sometimes Cannon) and running with a starting LT picked up off of the waiver wire.

The running game, such a key part of last year's team, has been a disappointment. Maybe due to the line? Specifically, Sony Michel has struggled mightily in 2 of 3 games. Rex Burkhead has been much better - but as a Patriot, Burkhead has had trouble staying on the field

At WR, they seem overly dependent on a single point of failure (Julian Edelman) now that the Brown saga has played itself out. (Very easy to see why the Pats went for him). Edelman is the one guy Brady feels he can count on to get open in any situation, and the difference between the Pats offense with Edelman in the game vs out of it was night and day. Gordon was awesome yesterday, but he looks more like a big play guy vs a steady move the chains kind of guy like Edelman. And he had his own injury issues in yesterday's game. Dorsett has made some big plays but he has yet to show that he can be the consistent option Edelman is.

This might be an overly negative view due to the Pats offensive struggles after Edelman went out. After all, they were playing without another key passing game option (White), and Brown's release on Friday means that they must have gameplanned around having Brown, Edelman, Gordon and Dorsett as their WRs. Finding themselves down Brown, White, and Edelman are planning to have at least 2 of those guys on the field for most of the week has to be a problem.

But at this point I still see an offense that might be overly reliant on a couple of guys, Edelman (whom the offense is built around in a lot of ways), Gordon, and Burkhead (to get anything at all out of the running game), none of whom can be viewed as reliably able to stay on the field.

On the plus side, with the defense being what it is, the offense doesn't need to be elite and they have plenty of time to sort out their issues.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
31,917
All things considered, I’m pretty content with the offense. First and foremost, Brady has looked very good, which is obviously the most important thing. The running game hasn’t showed up yet but that is probably directly related to the injuries to Andrews, Wynn, and Cannon. Andrews isn’t coming back but Karras has done a solid job in his absence. Wynn’s injury definitely stings a bit. He played well against the Steelers. I feel like Mason has had a subpar season so far. Have liked what I’ve seen out of Thuney and the fill-ins.

As for the RBs, Michel has been very blah. Not all his fault because the blocking has been weak and Develin is banged up but he also isn’t making many people miss. Fortunately, Burkhead has looked spry so far. White is White so no concerns there. We’ve yet to see Damien Harris but he represents solid depth.

The WRs have done a pretty good job. Gordon doesn’t look overly explosive yet, and looked out of it in first half yesterday, but rebounded to finish strongly. He’ll be the chunk yardage guy for as long as he’s here. Edelman has been Edelman. Given his age and usage, I’m concerned about him lasting the season. Dorsett seems to be taking a step forward from occasional catch to consistent production. Meyers appears ready to go from nonfactor to the prior Dorsett role. Harry is the x-factor. At this point, just need him to get healthy to see what we have. Adding a non-crazy AB to this unit would have been great because he and Brady would have torched people but it also alleviates the potential Brady/2010 Moss dynamic. Either way, he’s gone and it’s for the best.

The TEs have been pretty nonexistent but nice play by Izzo yesterday. I remain hopeful that Watson has something left in the tank because it would be a big help.

All in all, this isn’t some kind of superstar group but there is plenty of talent and the defense should keep them in it most games even if the offense struggles.
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
2,391
Bow, NH
My buddy and I were talking about it during the game yesterday. My thought was that there are 3 reasons for the struggle:
  1. Game plan: They planned on Brown for this week. He wasn’t shit-canned until later on Friday, leaving only Saturday’s walkthrough to make adjustments to the game plan. They also planned on James White. Not enough time to make the adjustments minus those 2 guys
  2. Edleman’s injury. Losing a key part of the offense mid-game hurt them significantly.
  3. Develin’s injury really hurt the running game. The o-line has been struggling a bit with run-blocking, and without Develin (and with only 1 TE), they had no chance with the Jets stacking the box.

I expect it to get better as the season rolls along. The OL will start to gel (I hope). Watson comes back after next week, and hopefully LaCosse comes back, which will obviously help the TE situation.

I do wish they had kept Berrios, as he would have been a good fill-in for JE. I hope his injury is not serious.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
5,196
Yes, they have put up 92 points (not counting the defense's 2 TDs) in 3 games, but at times they have struggled.
Isn't this all that needs to be said? Only 4 teams have scored more than 92 points. Does "at times they have struggled" mean "they didn't score a touchdown on every single drive"?

They scored 30 points yesterday despite punting 3 times on 4th and short when they were at or near the Jets' 40. The offense is fine.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
22,134
Melrose, MA
Isn't this all that needs to be said? Only 4 teams have scored more than 92 points. Does "at times they have struggled" mean "they didn't score a touchdown on every single drive"?
If there was reason to think that they were playing against quality NFL defenses, then, yes, the 92 points would be all that needs to be said. But I don’t tho k they have.
 

Red Averages

owes you $50
SoSH Member
Apr 20, 2003
5,257
Really hard to beat up on the offense given they are averaging 30 pts a game without having to open up the playbook much AND they've had significant injuries/distractions. Most of the games have been over in the first quarter, so its tough to really criticize the offense for taking their foot off the gas at times. The offense will likely look quite a bit different than the 2nd half of yesterday's games when:

A - the OL has more consistency in playing together
B - James White, Harry, and Ben Watson return.

Plus - given how strong the defense is this year, even if they do eventually let up some points (!), we should acknowledge that starting field position is likely to be extremely good for the Patriots all year - reducing the burden on the team.

The hard thing is the 2019 Patriots are being held to the 2007 Patriots standard, which seems incredibly unfair given how strong the 2007 Patriots offense was and the rotating cast playing for the Pats so far. Compared to the recent slow starts of the Patriots, I'll take this version any day.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I feel like maybe a lot of us have forgotten how the first four weeks of recent seasons have gone.
After those seasons have fully played out, we have looked back on the early week tribulations and explained much of it away to the Pats, both players and coaches, figuring out who the new team is and what they do. We have speculated that BB has been treating the first four games as extended preseason.
Clearly the D seems to have picked up where they left off when the confetti was still floating down and in many ways that makes sense as there is very little change there other than who is on the sideline calling plays — and even he (Mayo) has plenty of experience being part of a Patriot D. But the offense has a lot of change, due to injuries, retirements, etc.
Even there, they remain an elite team, ranking near the top on most offensive categories except for rushing. As has been discussed elsewhere, the rushing game has seen the most change, with three new OLinemen, plus the departure of two excellent blocking TEs (let’s not forget that D Allen, was a very good blocker himself).
tl/dr: I’m not worried.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
5,196
If there was reason to think that they were playing against quality NFL defenses, then, yes, the 92 points would be all that needs to be said. But I don’t tho k they have.
But that cuts both ways. They clearly took their foot off the pedal yesterday on offense.

Do we really expect them score on every single drive? The Cowboys only scored 10 points on Miami in the first half yesterday. Even the worst team is capable of making plays, sometimes.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
6,094
The offense struggled late. But they started the game with three straight TD drives and the game was O.V.E.R. right then and there. Not to say they stopped trying to score but clearly they weren’t pulling out all the stops.

I have a few concerns, mainly about health (Edelman, Develin, Wynn especially), but I think they’ll be fine. I mean they were without Brown (which will be a permanent thing but which was at that point a very late adjustment), White (a huge part of the offense), and Edelman (for a half). Still scored 30 pretty effortlessly against a not bad defense (the Jets came in averaging 20.0 ppg allowed...not terrible at all). Hard to be too upset at that.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
21,584
Hingham, MA
When you think about the fact that AB was cut on Friday after their final practice of the week, that they probably didn't know whether they would have White up until Saturday or so, that they weren't sure about Develin - a guy who played ~40% of the snaps in the first two weeks - and not to mention the O line situation, then they went out and scored touchdowns on their first three drives, it really is remarkable. I don't think they played a single snap with a FB yesterday, when that is a huge part of their offense. Mass amount of credit is due to McDaniels for adapting on the fly. They make it look very easy at times when it is not very easy. Oh yeah and Edelman played < half the game too.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
16,490
Philadelphia
I'm not reading too much into the first three games but I think its fair to say that there are an unusually large number of question marks going forward (and therefore the range of outcomes, including some pretty bad ones) is very wide.

OL health has obviously not been good. Whether Wynn returns and can be a major contributor after missing so much time is a big unanswered question.

The TE position is a significant weakness. Watson is a dice roll given his age and who knows what will happen with Gronk. But without some legitimate improvement at this position I think we'll be hampered. Its a problem that when we trot out 21 personnel we often have three skill positions players (Izzo, Sony, Develin) that really aren't threats in the passing game at all.

And then you've got the WR group, which is also still full of uncertainty given Gordon's situation and the error bars around rookie WRs.

I'm hopeful that things work out. But I think we need to be prepared for a wide range of outcomes here. I can see things coming together and the offense being top 5 in the league by the end of the season, but a league average offense wouldn't surprise me either.
 

Zososoxfan

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
5,538
South of North
Agree with a lot of what's written already. 1) The Pats treat the first 4 games of the season a little different than most clubs. The fact they're 3-0 is a reflection of their schedule and a terrific result. 2) Unexpected personnel changes late in the week. 3) Injuries.

Just to add, the Pats are tied for 5th in total offense yards, so even if they're getting short fields, they're moving the ball among the best in the league. They have 7 passing TDs which is top 5 in league. Not a ton of data yet w/r/t rushing TDs, but they're top 5 there too. I couldn't find RZ conversion rates, but I bet those are solid as well.

Next week @Buffalo is looking like a good litmus test.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
22,134
Melrose, MA
I guess my take books down to a couple of things.

The Pats won the SB last year behind a dominant defense and an offense that did just barely enough.

Compared to last year’s team, the offense looks similar to slightly worse, while the defense looks notably better, and (very significantly) deeper. There isn’t any one or 2 defensive players who seem essential to this defense because they have quality depth almost everywhere.

Offense, by contrast, even ignoring Brady, really depends on Edelman (who is aging and frequently banged up just because of the way he plays) and Gordon (who is a risk) as playmakers. It’s really obvious why they gambled on Brown.

The running game would be very helpful, too, but has largely been missing an action.

Anyway, I’m not predicting doom and gloom. I just think this years team will be something like last year’s and will need to stay healthy on offense and ride their defense.
 

5dice

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2001
551
Out of town
I think the offense will take another step forward as the adjustments to the o-line start to take hold. Newhouse is now 2 games in, Cannon is back, Karras is not rainbowing shotgun snaps. This will help with designed run plays which have been the last thing to come along (with the exception of Burkhead wriggling around somewhat successfully last couple games). The success of the run will make play action better. We haven't even seen Watson, Harry or Harris and just a glimpse of LaCosse. I am not reading anything into yesterday, given what others have already noted about AB, Develin and White situations.
 
Last edited:

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
17,792
Newton
punting 3 times on 4th and short when they were at or near the Jets' 40.
I sort of got the sense that they were trying to keep the offense off the field there. I know normally you want to dominate TOP, but it almost seemed that they were more comfortable pinning the Jets deep and playing defense instead of giving more offensive lineman and skill players the opportunity to get hurt.
 

Nator

Member
SoSH Member
My thoughts.
1. Until Sony Michel can make a few catches, any time he is in the backfield opponents have a pretty good idea that it is a running play.
2. James White is a huge part of this offense. He'll be back, barring anything unforeseen.
3. In the latter portion of the game yesterday with Edelman out, Gordon may have been running routes that he hasn't before, and since they had such a large lead the coaching staff decided that it was a good time for him to practice against a live opponent.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
31,917
My thoughts.
1. Until Sony Michel can make a few catches, any time he is in the backfield opponents have a pretty good idea that it is a running play.
2. James White is a huge part of this offense. He'll be back, barring anything unforeseen.
3. In the latter portion of the game yesterday with Edelman out, Gordon may have been running routes that he hasn't before, and since they had such a large lead the coaching staff decided that it was a good time for him to practice against a live opponent.
Re: #1

It’s either a run or a play action. Would love to see if we could go 2 RB with Michel and White at some point like they did with Bolden/Burkhead.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
8,961
Any nits you might pick with the offense stem from the line, its inexperience working together, and injuries to it. Everything else is consequence of that, fluff, or small-sample-size quirks.

Lack of running game against a defense that came to expect the pass? Run blocking.
Couple of pass misses on throws that looked rushed, or turfed? Unusual amounts of pressure up the middle.
etc.

Availability of skill-position players and Develin is a concern, but their general level of performance is impossible to fairly perceive, I think, amid the wildcard factor of the OL.
 

CoffeeNerdness

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 6, 2012
3,638
Not without their issues for sure, but if you watch the league Thursday - Monday you can't come to any other conclusion than that the Pats are a top tier offense in the NFL.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
21,880
Here
We’ll get a good idea this week because these are the two best defenses in the league in Buffalo this weekend.

I have concerns about the unit, mostly because I don’t expect Edelman to last the season at this age and position and I’m not sure what the depth situation is. Can Gunner play slot like Berrios?

Overall, I’d say the offense has been fine, but I think a look at the traditional stats overrates them. The defense has done a lot to help.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
12,137
Mansfield MA
I guess my take books down to a couple of things.

The Pats won the SB last year behind a dominant defense and an offense that did just barely enough.
I think it's a little myopic to focus just on the SB. They won the AFCCG with the defense playing one terrific half and one terrible half while the offense carried the load. Versus the Chargers, they dominated on both sides of the ball. There are going to be games where the defense doesn't play as well and they need to win a shootout.

Compared to last year’s team, the offense looks similar to slightly worse, while the defense looks notably better, and (very significantly) deeper. There isn’t any one or 2 defensive players who seem essential to this defense because they have quality depth almost everywhere.
I think the O is significantly worse between the OL maladies and Gronk's retirement, though it depends on whether you classify Gordon as a new addition, as they have him now and didn't for the playoff run

The D is a little better; I don't think it's dramatically better. The secondary is essentially the same. The LBs are better and deeper with Collins and Bentley. The DL is pretty different in terms of faces and names, but I think the production will be similar as long as Bennett can stay healthy. They are much better-positioned to weather a LB injury but injuries to key people in the front (Bennett, Butler, Shelton) or back end (McCourty, Chung, Gilmore, Jones) would be painful. And we know the 2018 D stayed healthy virtually all year; we don't know anything about what will happen with this year's unit.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
22,134
Melrose, MA
Availability of skill-position players and Develin is a concern, but their general level of performance is impossible to fairly perceive, I think, amid the wildcard factor of the OL.
That's a good way of putting it - and I agree about the line.
The D is a little better; I don't think it's dramatically better. The secondary is essentially the same. The LBs are better and deeper with Collins and Bentley. The DL is pretty different in terms of faces and names, but I think the production will be similar as long as Bennett can stay healthy. They are much better-positioned to weather a LB injury but injuries to key people in the front (Bennett, Butler, Shelton) or back end (McCourty, Chung, Gilmore, Jones) would be painful. And we know the 2018 D stayed healthy virtually all year; we don't know anything about what will happen with this year's unit.
I don't know... as good as Gilmore is, I think the Pats could manage were he to get hurt. JC Jackson is incredibly good for a 4th CB, which is what he is on this team. I can see where injuries to the guys up front would be the most problematic in the short term, especially Bennett, If Cowart is any good they have some depth at DT.
 

ZMart100

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 15, 2008
1,381
Cajuste is a wild card on the OL. I would guess he will be healthy enough to start practicing week 6 and possibly activated quickly. I don't think they draft him in the 3rd round if they don't think he has a reasonable chance to be a starting quality player. However, he may not be ready to play at that level immediately.
 

ehaz

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2007
2,320
I wonder if the Patriots throwing a lot more than maybe was expected and Michel's usage is simply BB "scouting himself." I feel like we heard all offseason about Michel's development in the passing game, yet we haven't seen it at all. Michel's looked bad, but outside the obvious offensive line injuries, this might be due to the fact that defenses clearly know that he's not been a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Perhaps we'll see BB/McDaniels change it up over the course of the season.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
16,490
Philadelphia
Buffalo has an excellent defense and our offense is banged up, but I still found that game pretty worrisome. There is obvious reason to hope that the Oline, which did not play well in either the run or pass game, will improve going forward as Karras gets more comfortable, Wynn potentially comes back, and Dante works his magic. I'm more worried that the Patriots just don't have many guys that can beat man coverage, other than Edelman, and I'm not sure that is going to change, short of a Gronk return. Jules was clearly not himself coming off the injury. At the same time, he's 33 and gets banged around a lot over the course of a season. We can't count on him playing at his highest level game in and game out and even when he's 100% healthy and on his A game defenses will always try to make somebody else beat them. Gordon is great at certain things but he runs a pretty limited set of routes. At this point at least, he can't provide what Gronk provided - being that second player who can win frequently against man coverage and who can be moved around into different places on the field in order to get certain one on one matchups that you're willing to gamble on. Dorsett is a nice third/fourth WR option who can succeed situationally, but if we're leaning on him we're in trouble.James White is great but we're pretty one dimensional when he's in the game and Buffalo actually largely handled him int he passing game (he had the one big completion down the sideline against excellent coverage, but almost everything else was a screen or a very short checkdown). And TE is basically a black hole in the passing game. Watson coming back and being a legitimate threat is probably the most obvious way that this whole situation improves. But he is a 38 year old wildcard so its hard to count on it.
 

amRadio

lurker
Feb 7, 2019
146
This might be an ignorant question X's and O's wise, but would it be worth trying White in the slot? Can we line up with two backs, flex him out to the slot and make teams respect the run with him in the game? Dorsett just doesn't seem like he can shake average NFL man coverage, and I am not counting on Watson making an impact on the passing game.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I do think that Watson will have an impact. He had more receptions and yards last year than LaCosse and Izzo have in their careers combined. The TE has always been a key component to the Pats offense, even without Gronk -- Martellus, Coates, Hernandez, Watson pt 1, Graham. Not only does a competent TE give Brady another receiving option, it will have trickle-down impacts in that teams will need to pay attention to another player. I think this will help a lot.
 

8slim

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
12,894
Unreal America
The Pats have won a few rock fights in Buffalo previously, and this Bills D is damn good. It's reasonable to be concerned about the health of the OL, and how the Pats are moving on from the greatest TE in league history. At the same time, at this point in the season a year ago the Pats were 2-2 and had a 31-20 loss to Jax and a 26-10 loss to Detroit on its resume. They were struggling to run as well.

It's normal to focus on the weaknesses, but this is still an O that has Brady, White, Michel, Burkhead, Edelman, Gordon, Dorsett and Watson in its arsenal. I really do think we'll be OK, absent a complete catastrophe on the OL.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
31,917
I do think that Watson will have an impact. He had more receptions and yards last year than LaCosse and Izzo have in their careers combined. The TE has always been a key component to the Pats offense, even without Gronk -- Martellus, Coates, Hernandez, Watson pt 1, Graham. Not only does a competent TE give Brady another receiving option, it will have trickle-down impacts in that teams will need to pay attention to another player. I think this will help a lot.
It may be foolish of me but I remain bullish on Old Man Watson. He has worked with Brady before and still remains a quality receiver. No reason to believe he can’t have a Witten like impact for us and provide 3-4 catches / game.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

Homeland Security
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2005
17,740
Portsmouth, NH
I do think that Watson will have an impact. He had more receptions and yards last year than LaCosse and Izzo have in their careers combined. The TE has always been a key component to the Pats offense, even without Gronk -- Martellus, Coates, Hernandez, Watson pt 1, Graham. Not only does a competent TE give Brady another receiving option, it will have trickle-down impacts in that teams will need to pay attention to another player. I think this will help a lot.
Coates? How in the earth is he relevant? They also had Marv Cook...
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
8,961
One of Belichick's finest pre-Patriots hours was stopping Coates cold in the 1994 WC game. It was the Browns' last playoff victory.

That's all I got for you.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
16,490
Philadelphia
I do think that Watson will have an impact. He had more receptions and yards last year than LaCosse and Izzo have in their careers combined. The TE has always been a key component to the Pats offense, even without Gronk -- Martellus, Coates, Hernandez, Watson pt 1, Graham. Not only does a competent TE give Brady another receiving option, it will have trickle-down impacts in that teams will need to pay attention to another player. I think this will help a lot.
The bar to be better in the passing game than Izzo and LaCosse is pretty low, that's for sure. They've been on the field for 223 snaps combined (not sure how many passing snaps) and been targeted five times in total. LaCosse is obviously better than Izzo in this regard, but he can't block so he doesn't play that much.

The lack of a complete player at TE seems to be a big part of the problem. The Patriots got away with having specialists at RB in part because Gronk could be equally effective in the passing and running games. So you could put Sony out there and Gronk would maul in the run game, but you could also keep Sony in as an extra blocker and Gronk would be a huge threat releasing. With a guy like Izzo, now you've got two skill position players who can't do anything in the passing game (and three if you're in the I and have a FB on the field). Similarly, having Gronk as your TE when James White was in the backfield keeps the defense more honest because Gronk could maul any LB or S he ended up matched up with on the edge in the running game.

Hindsight is 20/20 but the decision not to draft a TE last spring remains a perplexing one, especially taking guys at positions like CB and RB where the team already had a lot of depth and it would be difficult for any player to even make the game day roster. For example, I like Damien Harris but it sure seems like Dawson Knox, who we saw yesterday, would be more helpful right now.
 
Apr 24, 2019
283
Hindsight is 20/20 but the decision not to draft a TE last spring remains a perplexing one, especially taking guys at positions like CB and RB where the team already had a lot of depth and it would be difficult for any player to even make the game day roster. For example, I like Damien Harris but it sure seems like Dawson Knox, who we saw yesterday, would be more helpful right now.
I too found this pretty odd. We were never going to REPLACE GRONK, but finding a TE in an allegedly TE rich draft class wasn’t exactly a heavy lift. The absolute SQUAT we have at that position isn’t a high bar to exceed right now. That said, I like the Harris pick and I’m psyched to see what he can do.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
8,961
the two TEs people were talking about in discussing this class as a "TE-rich draft" were taken with picks #8 and #20 overall. How many people here were advocating trading up into the teens in order to take Fant, nevermind Hockenson? Were you? When has Belichick ever done such a thing?

I have a hard time believing that would have been a better move than what we've done. Having Watson absent from these first 4 games hasn't been great, but it hasn't affected the W-L record and he was able to participate through all of training camp and preseason, so I'm optimistic how things will look now that he's back in the locker room. We've got the next 3 games against cupcakes (@WAS, v NYG, @NYJ) for him to adjust and the OL to gel before the high-stakes run of 6 games (vs CLE, @BAL, bye, @PHI, vs DAL, @HOU, vs KC) that will constitute the test of this season.
 

SeoulSoxFan

Dope
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
19,200
I do think that Watson will have an impact. He had more receptions and yards last year than LaCosse and Izzo have in their careers combined. The TE has always been a key component to the Pats offense, even without Gronk -- Martellus, Coates, Hernandez, Watson pt 1, Graham. Not only does a competent TE give Brady another receiving option, it will have trickle-down impacts in that teams will need to pay attention to another player. I think this will help a lot.
Ex-Patriot James O'Shaughnessy may be a potential low-cost target ($800k in base salary per spotrac), if run-blocking becomes more of a priority. He was ranked #2 in that department after the 2018 season via PFF:

"Though he’s currently on the open market as an unrestricted free agent, O’Shaugnessy should find a home with a team in need of a blocking tight end sooner rather than later. He earned four single-game run-blocking grades above 75.0 en route to an impressive 78.3 run-blocking grade on the year."


Of course, he currently plays for the Jags. 2-2 now but could fall off the map near the trade deadline.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
16,490
Philadelphia
the two TEs people were talking about in discussing this class as a "TE-rich draft" were taken with picks #8 and #20 overall. How many people here were advocating trading up into the teens in order to take Fant, nevermind Hockenson? Were you? When has Belichick ever done such a thing?

I have a hard time believing that would have been a better move than what we've done. Having Watson absent from these first 4 games hasn't been great, but it hasn't affected the W-L record and he was able to participate through all of training camp and preseason, so I'm optimistic how things will look now that he's back in the locker room. We've got the next 3 games against cupcakes (@WAS, v NYG, @NYJ) for him to adjust and the OL to gel before the high-stakes run of 6 games (vs CLE, @BAL, bye, @PHI, vs DAL, @HOU, vs KC) that will constitute the test of this season.
To be fair, while Hockenson and Fant were the highlights, the TE class was also seen as being very deep and having a lot of interesting mid round guys.
 
Apr 24, 2019
283
the two TEs people were talking about in discussing this class as a "TE-rich draft" were taken with picks #8 and #20 overall. How many people here were advocating trading up into the teens in order to take Fant, nevermind Hockenson? Were you? When has Belichick ever done such a thing?

I have a hard time believing that would have been a better move than what we've done. Having Watson absent from these first 4 games hasn't been great, but it hasn't affected the W-L record and he was able to participate through all of training camp and preseason, so I'm optimistic how things will look now that he's back in the locker room. We've got the next 3 games against cupcakes (@WAS, v NYG, @NYJ) for him to adjust and the OL to gel before the high-stakes run of 6 games (vs CLE, @BAL, bye, @PHI, vs DAL, @HOU, vs KC) that will constitute the test of this season.
I read about way more than just Hockenson and Fant, at different spots on all three days. Dawson looked get-able and worth exploring. Jace Sternberger. Irv Smith. Warring, Moreau. A handful of others. None may workout, even if they had been taken by N.E., but when a glaring need on the team meets a rumored position of depth in the draft, it’s a bit disappointing when the team doesn’t even take a swing. Even more so now, staring down the (practically) NOTHING they have on the 53.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
22,134
Melrose, MA
Buffalo has an excellent defense and our offense is banged up, but I still found that game pretty worrisome. There is obvious reason to hope that the Oline, which did not play well in either the run or pass game, will improve going forward as Karras gets more comfortable, Wynn potentially comes back, and Dante works his magic. I'm more worried that the Patriots just don't have many guys that can beat man coverage, other than Edelman, and I'm not sure that is going to change, short of a Gronk return. Jules was clearly not himself coming off the injury. At the same time, he's 33 and gets banged around a lot over the course of a season. We can't count on him playing at his highest level game in and game out and even when he's 100% healthy and on his A game defenses will always try to make somebody else beat them. Gordon is great at certain things but he runs a pretty limited set of routes. At this point at least, he can't provide what Gronk provided - being that second player who can win frequently against man coverage and who can be moved around into different places on the field in order to get certain one on one matchups that you're willing to gamble on. Dorsett is a nice third/fourth WR option who can succeed situationally, but if we're leaning on him we're in trouble.James White is great but we're pretty one dimensional when he's in the game and Buffalo actually largely handled him int he passing game (he had the one big completion down the sideline against excellent coverage, but almost everything else was a screen or a very short checkdown). And TE is basically a black hole in the passing game. Watson coming back and being a legitimate threat is probably the most obvious way that this whole situation improves. But he is a 38 year old wildcard so its hard to count on it.
I think this game was an especially bad look for the Pats because of the combination of offensive line problems along with Edelman and even Burkhead playing hurt. They aren't this bad. But the bigger concern is that, even aside from Brady, they are overly dependent on a single point of failure, Edelman, who is getting older and is always at risk of getting banged up do to his playing style.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
12,137
Mansfield MA
I read about way more than just Hockenson and Fant, at different spots on all three days. Dawson looked get-able and worth exploring. Jace Sternberger. Irv Smith. Warring, Moreau. A handful of others. None may workout, even if they had been taken by N.E., but when a glaring need on the team meets a rumored position of depth in the draft, it’s a bit disappointing when the team doesn’t even take a swing. Even more so now, staring down the (practically) NOTHING they have on the 53.
They appear to be very picky about what they look for at TE. They have only drafted two since 2012: Ryan Izzo in the seventh last year and A.J. Derby in the fifth round of 2015. I think the problem is that colleges are producing guys who block and don't catch or guys who catch but don't block and the unicorns like Hockenson go high in the first.
 

( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)

T&A
SoSH Member
Feb 9, 2010
5,259
Providence, RI
I think this game was an especially bad look for the Pats because of the combination of offensive line problems along with Edelman and even Burkhead playing hurt. They aren't this bad. But the bigger concern is that, even aside from Brady, they are overly dependent on a single point of failure, Edelman, who is getting older and is always at risk of getting banged up do to his playing style.
the great unknown here is Gunner right? I'm curious about the decision to keep Gunner over Berrios. One would assume that Berrios was the more advanced WR over Gunner just by the fact that he has played the position for years and Gunner has not. Both seemed like capable punt returners to my untrained eye. I would have guessed that Gunner's ability as a punt returner may have been greater than Berrios' but that the gap in their return skills was smaller than the gap in their receiving skills. But maybe not? Why else keep Gunner when one of your biggest roster risks is an older slot reciever? Meyers may enter into this calculus as some point as well though. Gunner getting no WR run on a week from Edelman is not 100% is also not a great sign.
Man I really don't want the season to depend on an undrafted rookie from a small school playing a new position. (but it'd be an awesome story if it worked!)
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
7,811
the great unknown here is Gunner right? I'm curious about the decision to keep Gunner over Berrios. One would assume that Berrios was the more advanced WR over Gunner just by the fact that he has played the position for years and Gunner has not. Both seemed like capable punt returners to my untrained eye. I would have guessed that Gunner's ability as a punt returner may have been greater than Berrios' but that the gap in their return skills was smaller than the gap in their receiving skills. But maybe not? Why else keep Gunner when one of your biggest roster risks is an older slot reciever? Meyers may enter into this calculus as some point as well though. Gunner getting no WR run on a week from Edelman is not 100% is also not a great sign.
Man I really don't want the season to depend on an undrafted rookie from a small school playing a new position. (but it'd be an awesome story if it worked!)
I think the bolded is where the Pats disagree with you. Berrios has been barely able to crack the lineup on a very weak Jets receiving corps, one that is weaker than what the Pats put out last week.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
21,584
Hingham, MA
Has there been any speculation as to why Burkhead wasn’t more involved in the offense last week? He played a decent amount, especially on ST, but had only one touch as a receiver and none as a runner.
He was on the injury report last week. Not sure if that had any impact on playing time vs. game plan.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 19, 2008
3,135
I read about way more than just Hockenson and Fant, at different spots on all three days. Dawson looked get-able and worth exploring. Jace Sternberger. Irv Smith. Warring, Moreau. A handful of others. None may workout, even if they had been taken by N.E., but when a glaring need on the team meets a rumored position of depth in the draft, it’s a bit disappointing when the team doesn’t even take a swing. Even more so now, staring down the (practically) NOTHING they have on the 53.
I wanted a TE too, but I don't think they did anything wrong in the draft. They got a WR in the 1st when all they really had was Edelman and Dorsett at the position and Hock/Fant off the board. They followed that up in R2 with a big CB, something they didn't really have and a trend we're seeing the Pats move in. In the 3rd round they took a pass rusher and got more OL help, both positions of need.

You can argue that they could've taken a TE instead of a CB in the 2nd or instead of another RB in the 3rd.

If they wanted a TE in R2, you're looking at: Irv Smith, Drew Sample, Josh Oliver and Jace Sternberger. Smith has 3 catches and is stuck behind the underwhelming Kyle Rudolph, Sample has 2 catches in garbage time for Cincy, Oliver has been banged up and hasn't played and Sternberger is on IR.

If you wait until R3, you're left to choose from: Dawson Knox, Trevon Wesco, Foster Moreau or Zach Gentry. Knox is about the only one who's done anything so far, with 8 catches in 4 games and was seen as rather raw coming out of college where his route running, particularly on shorter routes, was in question. Moreau looks decent in OAK with 6 catches so far, but isn't seeing a lot of snaps. And PIT loves Gentry so much they went out and traded for Nick Vannett.

When looking at it, I'd say they might have missed on Knox in the 3rd, but even then I'm not sure he makes that big of a difference in the offense right now.
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,233
Dallas
It’s like @Super Nomario said - the tight ends coming out now usually are one dimensional. Some of the guys who showed a bit of both didn’t get much experience. Dawson Knox was my guy. But with a limited route tree and production I can see why they passed. I’d keep an eye on Vanderbilt’s Jarred Pinkney this year. He looks like he can do both even if he had some really shitty blocking reps on tape last year.