Julian Edelman downfield blocking key to New England Patriots offense

Julian Edelman Patriots
Julian Edelman (11) New England Patriots – Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is known for his pass catching ability, but his downfield blocking has been key to the New England Patriots offense so far this season.

We all know how valuable Julian Edelman is to the aerial attack. He leads the Patriots with 14 receptions for 142 yards through the first two games; Jimmy Garoppolo has relied on the veteran wideout’s sure hands and dependable route running. But Edelman is also making contributions when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

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The great wide receivers are also great blockers. Just look at Larry Fitzgerald, one of the premier wide receivers of this millennium. He made a name for himself as a blocking wide receiver almost as much as he did as a pass catcher. Hines Ward also factors into that conversation. Like those two possession receivers, Edelman is extremely valuable to his team as a blocker.

On one of Martellus Bennett’s big catch and run plays from Week 2, Edelman laid a huge block downfield. If it weren’t for Edelman getting down and dirty, Bennett wouldn’t have gained nearly as many yards.

The fact of the matter is that Edelman loves to block. He is already one of the scrappiest players in the league, trash talking cornerbacks at any given moment; having a chance to lay a big block on the player that is trying to deck Edelman every time he catches the ball is something that the Kent State product relishes, without a doubt.

Now, it should be noted that Edelman can get carried away a bit, like he did in Week 1 when he drew a five-figure fine for leveling defenseless Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon:

While we don’t like to see Edelman getting fined or penalized for his aggressive, physical style of play, we would rather have him mix it up with defenders rather than shy away from contact.

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In the coming weeks, keep an eye on Edelman at the corner of the television screen every time that LeGarrette Blount takes a handoff, James White dips into the flat or Martellus Bennett gains steam down the field. You will see No. 11 laying useful, substantive downfield blocks on cornerbacks standing in the way of the ball carrier.