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The Mass Media

The Patriots’ Predicament: Life Without Edelman

Life+Without+Edelman
Life Without Edelman

Until recently, it seemed as though nothing could go wrong for the Patriots. Tom Brady was suspended for four games, and the Patriots went 3-1 in those first four games. Then, the same New England team was trailing by 25 points late in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, and they came back and won the game in overtime. The team then acquired Brandin Cooks from the Saints for a first-round pick, after it was initially reported that the Saints wanted more than just the pick. Coming into the preseason, most experts had the Patriots coming out of the AFC, and most of them expected the team to win the Super Bowl. However, disaster struck in a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. 
Early in the game, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman caught a pass from Tom Brady and tweaked his knee as he was trying to run for extra yards. The initial injury looked harmless enough, but then the two-time Super Bowl champion had to be carted off the field and into the locker room. The fear was that Edelman had torn his ACL, an injury Patriots fans are familiar with. Those fears proved to be true, as it would later be confirmed that Edelman had completely torn his ACL.
Now the real question is, just how much does this affect the Patriots for the 2017 season? Edelman was a major contributor and one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. Edelman had finished in the top 10 for receptions in the NFL for three of the last four seasons. However, the Patriots are certainly well-equipped to handle this kind of loss in the offense. 
What also helps the situation is the man under center, Tom Brady. Brady is the greatest quarterback in the history of football, and still performs at a high level. Brady is also used to having a receiving corps that isn’t exactly star studded. He has thrown touchdowns to 65 different receivers in his NFL career, many of which caught under five. However, he has become accustomed to having his main targets. This season was supposed to be the best group Brady has ever had, but with Edelman’s injury, the worst-case scenario is to expect Cooks to replace Edelman’s production. Cooks is the most logical replacement in production given his numbers throughout his very young career, and given that he had already played with an elite quarterback in Drew Brees.
The Edelman injury obviously hurts the Patriots. In losing Julian, the team lost perhaps the best slot receiver in the NFL, which is Brady’s favorite place to throw the ball. There is nobody on the roster that is willing to take those hits so consistently just for the sake of production except for Gronkowski, but he is better utilized in other ways. The Patriots will simply have to find other ways to move the chains, and given the track record of Bill Belichick, I’m willing to bet this team still winds up in the Super Bowl.