This past Sunday, the New England Patriots beat the New York Giants by one point on a last second field goal kick from Stephen Gostowski. While the Patriots may have gotten a W in the win column, they took a huge loss in the first half of the game when Julian Edelman went down with a foot injury.
After the game, ESPN reported that Edelman would need to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his left foot and that he could miss somewhere in the range of 6-8 weeks.
Nov 15, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) prior to the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
This is a big loss for the Patriots because Edelman was Tom Brady’s leading pass catcher and his go-to guy when the quarterback found himself in a bind. He has been TB12’s most dependable receiver over the past few years because he executes his routes flawlessly, catches what’s thrown his way, and stays healthy throughout the season. Edelman’s absence from the game against the Giants was extremely noticeable during the final drive of the fourth quarter when Brady threw three straight incompletions and a pass that was nearly picked off. It looked like Brady had no one to throw the ball to without Edelman being there.
Another reason that this injury is a huge problem for the Patriots is the timing of it. Last week, the Patriots’ promising receiving tailback, Dion Lewis, was lost for the season because of an ACL injury. The offense has also lost Nate Solder, James Develin, and other players to long term injuries. This high amount of injuries could prove to be a problem when the playoffs come around in a few months, especially if players don’t step up to take the injured’s place.
So now the question is who is going to step up for the Patriots until Julian Edelman is healthy again?
Of course, Brady can always throw to Gronk, but I have a feeling that he is going to start to get double and triple teamed because Brady has very few other receivers to throw to. Therefore, the quarterback will have to look to some of his other targets.
Right now, Brady’s main targets consist of Brandon LaFell, who is still recovering from an injury and has not caught a touchdown pass yet this season; Aaron Dobson, who is playing in his third NFL season and also has not caught a single touchdown pass; Scott Chandler, who is a solid red zone threat, but he only has 13 receptions so far, and that is not going to be enough to replace Julian Edelman’s 61 catches. There are a few other receivers on the Patriots’ depth chart who may be able to fill in, but they are all third and fourth string players who haven’t really gotten a chance to prove themselves yet.
And then there is Danny Amendola.
Out of all the receivers on the Pats depth chart there is no one who resembles Edelman more than Amendola. They both are around 5-10 and 200 pounds, they both excel in the slot position, and they both are quick receivers who can run short routes and make something happen after they catch the ball. So far this season, Amendola has caught 40 passes for 403 yards and two touchdowns compared to Edelman’s 61 receptions for 692 yards and 7 touchdowns.
While those stats may seem drastically different, I think that if Amendola was targeted as often as Edelman has been, then he would have just as much success as Edelman has had. The only problem with Amendola getting targeted more is that the number of hits he will encounter is going to go up drastically, and he has been prone to injuries throughout his career. His worst injury occurred in 2012, when he dislocated his clavicle during a game and it came within millimeters from puncturing his trachea which most likely would have ended his life.
However, if Amendola can stay healthy then I think he will definitely be able to replace Julian Edelman until his return back to full strength. And if this works, then it will be reminiscent of when Edelman took over Wes Welker’s job when he signed to play for the Denver Broncos. I think I speak for all Patriots fans when I say that we hope Amendola can produce the same results that Edelman has since Welker left, because we have another Super Bowl on our mind, but Brady will need someone to throw to in order to bring the Pats back to the promised land.