Julian Edelman is the only returning New England Patriots wide receiver with tangible experience at this position, and he’s set for a breakout season if he can manage to stay healthy. But injures are always a major concern with Edelman, and we saw that first-hand yesterday. Just a day after being activated from the PUP list, Edelman fell on his foot yesterday in practice and had to exit to the trainer, and we can only hope that this injury is minor and that he didn’t re-aggravate the foot injury that got him placed on the PUP (and originally the injured reserve when he broke it in December before the mid-offseason setback) to begin with.
On the bright side, Edelman looked great when he was healthy, and he and Tom Brady showed off an excellent rapport that will be invaluable in 2013. Edelman showed no ill effects of the injury on Thursday or at the beginning of Friday’s practice, as he looked quick and showed off great hands. As we saw last year, Edelman significantly improved his long speed, and he is much more of a playmaking weapon with some added versatility, and it always makes me cringe when people refer to him as a slot receiver. Not only is that wasting Edelman’s long speed, but it would also expose him to even more hard hits over the middle of the field. He can play the slot, but you would ideally like Edelman to move around the formation and use different route combinations in order to best extrapolate a defense’s weaknesses.
Tom Brady understands the value of having a pass-catcher like Julian Edelman, especially since it is clear that they share a great rapport that has developed over some time. Brady had this to say about Edelman, via WEEI, “It was great, I mean any time you can get guys back healthy, and Julian, he’s been working his butt off to get back out here. I’m right next to him in the locker room, so I see his excitement every day and the excitement he brings to the practice field. He’s going out here and working hard just like everybody else.”
Edelman knew that he had some ground to cover coming off of the PUP list with the way the rookie wide receivers have been playing, and his play already made up that ground. The injury? Not so much, and we can only hope that things are fine on that front, and it’s always sad and frustrating to see Edelman always go down with injuries. Brady called Edelman a “tough kid” both mentally and physically, and Brady continued to praise Edelman’s work ethic, especially as it relates to Edelman’s rehabbing process.