The initial 53-man roster is set for the New England Patriots, and one thing that jumps out immediately is the shakiness at the receiver position. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, and Chris Harper are the only current receivers on the roster, as Reggie Wayne asked to be released, and Brandon LaFell was placed on the PUP list (eligible to return after 6 weeks).
So my question is, will this be enough for the Patriots?
I don’t think this is a black and white issue, but I do feel like whatever they decide to do, New England will be just fine. If Bill Belichick elects to sign a receiver until LaFell returns, that’s fine, but in all likelihood it will only be for depth. Kenbrell Thompkins is someone that comes to mind, because he was recently released by the Raiders, and he already knows New England’s system.
But even if Thompkins or someone of that nature is signed, I doubt they will have a huge role in the offense. Instead, until LaFell returns, I anticipate an increased amount of targets for Edelman, Gronk, Chandler and Amendola, and also look for Aaron Dobson to get involved. Dobson is the only one on this roster that can take the spot of LaFell, which means he will have to try to get on the same page as Tom Brady. This is Dobson’s final chance to show he belongs on this roster, because after this year, and after this kind of opportunity with LaFell out, if he still can’t take advantage, it is time to move on.
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Dobson has all the physical tools you want, but his hands are inconsistent, and too often he isn’t on the same page as Brady. With the receiving corps thin, Dobson must come through early in the season to help Brady and the offense overcome the loss of LaFell and Wayne.
Aside from that, I expect another big season from Edelman and Amendola, and of course, nobody can stop Rob Gronkowski. Add in another big target in Scott Chandler, and the Patriots should be unstoppable, particularly in the red zone.
Let’s get it.