Listen in as four of the Musket Fire guys discuss pertinent New England Patriots topics such as Chris Hogan, non-A.J. Green Bengals threats, Stephen Gostkowski’s struggles, and the snap counts of Patriots running backs.
"Connor Fulton: In my opinion, the role of Chris Hogan could be one of the best storylines for the Patriots this season. With the Patriots going up against the Bengals, I am reminded of Brandon LaFell in the 2014 season, as Hogan is playing virtually the same role. How close do you think Hogan will come (or pass) LaFell’s 2014 stat line of 74 receptions, 953 yards and seven touchdowns?"
Hal Bent: I have to go with “no” simply because of the presence of Martellus Bennett. Bennett is going to eat-up a lot of passes that went to LaFell in 2014, particularly near the goal-line. Like LaFell, Hogan had a quiet start to the season but broke out as the season progressed. Remember, LaFell put up those impressive statistics in 2014 after having no receptions despite a bunch of targets in week one and then in week two Brady never looked his way. It was not until LaFell put out maximum effort during the blowout against Kansas City that he went from “bust” to “boom”. Hogan was forgotten for two weeks with rookie Jacoby Brissett focusing primarily on Bennett in week three and four. Hogan is back and should get about 50-60 receptions for 650-750 yards and about five touchdowns.
Joe Lewis: I think he can come fairly close. With Bennett, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman all legitimate threats in the middle of the field, the deep parts of the secondary face difficult decisions in pass coverage. It’s not hard to imagine that Tom Brady and Hogan are going to be able to take advantage of free safeties cheating toward the middle in order to take away seam routes by the tight ends, as well as the quick slant/option routes from Edelman, leaving Hogan in one-on-one coverage with no help over the top. With those considerations in mind, I think Hogan’s ceiling is more dependant on Brady’s deep-ball accuracy than anything else.
James Caughlin: The storyline of Hogan coming from the Bills and establishing a rapport with Brady so quickly is certainly one to get on board with. I don’t see him having big games week after week but he seems like he will make the most of the opportunities he is given. In terms of stats he could definitely get up towards LaFell’s numbers but as Joe mentioned above, he is going to be the third option at best on most plays because of guys like Bennett. Realistically I’ll go in the same vicinity as Hal’s numbers: 50-60 catches, 700 yards and maybe eight touchdowns but more from 20+ yards than in the red zone.
Next: Hal ponders non-A.J. Green threats