Patriots discussion: Musket Fire Roundtable 5/19
It’s been a busy offseason for the Patriots. The team we’re going to see on the field in Week 1 in the Arizona desert will have plenty of new faces. Which new addition, veteran or rookie, is going to have the greatest impact this season?
Andre Menice – Martellus Bennett is probably the obvious answer being that has had big statistical seasons and is in a contract year and should be all business if he wants to lock in another big payday, but I have to agree with David, it has to be Dion Lewis. I am skeptical of how he returns from a torn ACL being that he makes his living being one of the most elusive backs in the league., but if he can return to form, he will be the most important person to the offense not named Brady or Gronkowski. It was obvious from the moment he went down last season, the offense was not the same, lacking dynamics and explosiveness, and it ended up being severely missed down the stretch and costing them another appearance in the Super Bowl.
Jaydeen Allen – Martellus Bennett. 100%. The Patriots have tried a numerous amount of times since 2013 to bring in tight ends that would compliment Rob Gronkowski, most notably Tim Wright (2014) and Scott Chandler (2015). Both tight ends had their moments on the field, but did not offer enough on offense, whether it was receiving or run-blocking, and ultimately saw reduced snaps and targets. With the addition of Bennett, Josh McDaniels can finally open up multiple tight end sets in his playbook that has seemingly caught dust and spider-webs since 2012.
Kirk von Kreisler – It has to be Martellus Bennett. The Patriots traded a fourth-round draft pick for the six-foot-six tight end and a sixth-round draft pick from the Chicago Bears. Bennett creates a two-headed monster with All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski and defenses should be shaking in their cleats. Bennett will be added to Tom Brady’s passing arsenal and, as a great blocker, he can also contribute to the run game, so he should see a ton of playing time this season. If Bennett stays healthy, there is no doubt that a fair amount of targets will be coming his way.
David Smith – I know everyone is going to say the assimilation of Martellus Bennett into the offense, but I think the biggest question right now, besides Brady’s suspension, is the health of Dion Lewis. If Lewis can pick up where he left off, the sky’s the limit for the team, even without Bennett. If he’s not the same, or if he’s slow out of the gate, they might stall a bit because they’d be keying on Brady’s new receivers. Lewis knows the offense more than Bennett does, and I expect Bennett to get angry when he only has 1 or 2 catches in a game compared to Gronk’s 9-10. Bennett will find the bench at some point, Lewis is the piece that balances the offense.
Next: David ponders who surprise cut will be