Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jonathan Krause (16) on the side line during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium. The Green Bay Packers won 22-11. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The wide receivers have been decimated by injury this offseason already and Saturday night was another game with another injured receiver. Brandon Gibson–who had looked strong during the game working both the slot and outside–limped off the field late in the game at the end of the Patriots’ second to least drive. Gibson led the team with eight catches on nine targets for 68 yards. He showed good rapport with Garoppolo and ran tight routes and got open.
Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiverDanny Amendola
(80) warms up before the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers in a preseason NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Danny Amendola was active but only played a handful of snaps and reports from camp are that Brian Tyms could have a significant, season-ending foot injury. Josh Boyce–who played most of preseason game one as the primary receiving target–did not play due to an unknown injury.
With Brandon LaFell still on the PUP list, Julian Edelman still nursing an injury, and Aaron Dobson again sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Patriots turned to the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart against the Saints. Jonathan Krause–a 2014 undrafted free agent from Vanderbilt who was on the practice squad last year–and Chris Harper–an undrafted free agent from Cal–were forced to step-up and play more than expected.
Krause had six catches on all six targets for 55 yards. Harper had five catches on eight targets for a team-leading 69 yards and a 24 yard touchdown. Harper added extra value as a returner and had a 28 yard punt return to set-up the game winning drive. Both are candidates for more playing time as Boyce and Dobson continue to waste opportunities to grab a roster spot.
For the third straight season the 2013 draft picks are wasting a golden opportunity. If Brandon Gibson can get back on the field, he has shown enough to be on the opening night roster. With Harper’s value on special teams, he could spell Amendola and Edelman as a returner if he can stick. For the offense, however, a return to health of Edelman and LaFell is a necessity.