Sep 21, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates with receiverDanny Amendola
(80) after a touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
3. Who steps up after Edelman, Gronkowski?
Before the horrid offensive line play popped up again, the big question surrounding this Patriots offense was who would step up as a legimate option behind Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
New England helped us answer that question a little bit by deactivating Aaron Dobson before the game (which still puzzles me), but it was Brandon LaFell who really emerged from the pack yesterday, as he recorded four catches, for 46 yards against Oakland. He did most of his damage in the second half, catching three for 42 after halftime.
Danny Amendola was technically only targeted once, which he dropped, but he also had a 20-yard reception negated because of a LaFell penalty. I still have confidence in Amendola, because he continues to get open. Obviously he doesn’t get open nearly as much as Edelman does, but just based on what I saw live yesterday, there were quite a few instances where Amendola was open, but Brady missed him. This continues a troubling trend that started last year, where Brady overlooks Amendola because he doesn’t trust him. The Patriots will be a better team if Amendola is involved, but that will never happen if Brady doesn’t give him a chance.