It’s probably time to shut down Julian Edelman until the playoffs
As much as the New England Patriots need Julian Edelman this weekend against the Buffalo Bills, they desperately need him even more in the postseason.
This isn’t going to be a popular idea, and I totally understand if you want to vehemently disagree with me here.
That said, I have to say it: I think the best course of action for the New England Patriots at this juncture is to shut down Julian Edelman for the final two weeks of the regular season.
Edelman is clearly in pain. As problematic as it is for your No. 1 wide receiver to have a shoulder injury this time of year, it’s even more distressing when that same receiver is also battling what could be a significant knee injury.
Edelman is reportedly dealing with “either tendonitis in the patellar tendon, or an acute partial tear of the tendon” in his left knee.
Either way, it’s not good.
There’s no way to predict when or if the tendon will fully tear, but if it does, it will require surgery and a “prolonged recovery.” Some doctors claim that it’s more difficult for athletes to recover from a torn patellar tendon than a torn ACL.
So if Edelman were to rupture the tendon, there’s no guarantee that he’d ever be able to return to his previous level of athleticism and explosiveness.
Part of what makes “The Squirrel” such an amazing football player and wide receiver is his ability to run routes. Earlier this season, DeAndre Hopkins told reporters that Edelman was his favorite wideout in the NFL right now because of his footwork, ability to make precise cuts that break the ankles of opposing defenders, and his overall route-running acumen.
Indeed, Edelman has never been the fastest receiver in the NFL, nor does he have the best hands. He is a fast player and he does have good hands, but he also makes his fair share of drops every season, and he’s nowhere near as fast as guys like Hopkins, Tyreek Hill, or John Brown.
Edelman has all the other receivers in the NFL beat though when it comes to route-running. It’s why he’s so difficult to contain for a full 60 minutes in a game. He doesn’t outrun cornerbacks; he simply fools them with his routes.
That almost superhuman ability of his is clearly compromised right now by whatever the injury is he’s dealing with in his knee. And if it’s anywhere as serious an injury as multiple doctors and reports fear, then Edelman owes it to himself – and the Patriots owe it to him – to sit out these final two weeks of the regular season.
We all know what kind of a competitor No. 11 is. He was reportedly a game-time decision for the Bengals game last week, and he had to work out before kickoff in front of the Patriots’ medical staff to prove he could play. I guarantee you he was pleading his case the entire time.
Anyone who saw that game saw how bothered he was by the knee injury. He had his lowest statistical output of the season, catching just two passes for nine yards. Even Tom Brady seemed to recognize that Edelman wasn’t right; he threw at him just five times all game.
Make no mistake – Edelman has had the best season of his career. He’s so close to setting new career highs for himself in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He was snubbed from the Pro Bowl and he knows it, even if he doesn’t care. He’s also been the only consistent bright spot in all 14 games for these Patriots on offense this season.
That all being said, if New England wants him in any kind of competitive shape for the playoffs – when they’ll really need him most – they should shut him down for these last two weeks.
They certainly don’t need Edelman to beat the Miami Dolphins at home next Sunday. They certainly do need him to beat the Buffalo Bills this Saturday, but it’s better for everyone if he gets potentially three full weeks of rest before the Divisional round.
Of course, the flip side to this argument is that if the Patriots rest Edelman these final two weeks and they lose one of the two games – and the Chiefs win out – New England will fall to the No. 3 seed, they’ll lose that first-round bye, and Edelman will have less time to heal anyway.
What do you think the Patriots and Edelman should do? Is it better to rest Edelman for three weeks potentially and trust your team to win out? Or do the Patriots and their star receiver roll the dice and see how long his knee holds out for them?