The New England Patriots had one of the best passing offenses in the NFL in 2016. Do they have the best heading into 2017?
The 2016 season resulted in a Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots despite some bumps along the way.
As the Super Bowl Champions, the Patriots obviously had a lot of things going for them last season. With an improved running game and a strong defense, the Patriots were pretty well balanced. Despite the balance, the Patriots were still led by a very strong passing attack.
After Tom Brady served his four-game suspension, Brady went on to have a great season for the Patriots. With 28 passing touchdowns and just two interceptions, Brady had one of the most efficient seasons in NFL history.
What was very impressive for Brady and the Patriots to have such a great passing season, was that Rob Gronkowski was injured for most of it. As we head toward the 2017 season, the Patriots were recently ranked as the No.1 passing offense by Cam Mellor of Pro Football Focus. Here’s what Mellor had to say.
"The Patriots receive the No. 1 ranking here not because they won the Super Bowl last season. They do so because QB Tom Brady fielded the highest graded season by a quarterback in the PFF Era. And because TE Rob Gronkowski’s 3.18 yards per route run ranked first not just among tight ends, but among all receivers. Combine all that with Brady’s other receiving threats in Julian Edelman, newly acquired Brandin Cooks and the RB-pass-catching-duo of James White and Dion Lewis – and, well, you get the point."
Considering that the Patriots have Brady coming back, it shouldn’t come as too much of surprise that the Patriots are ranked first. In addition to Gronkowski returning in 2017 at full health, the Patriots were able to replace Martellus Bennett nicely by trading for Dwayne Allen.
At wide receiver, the Patriots became much better, as they traded for Brandin Cooks. As one of the most explosive wide receivers in the league, Cooks will be a great weapon alongside Julian Edelman. With all of the talent on offense, it would be hard to imagine that the Patriots don’t have a top 5 passing offense in 2017 when it’s all said and done.