Patriots WR Julian Edelman’s explanation of the offense’s struggles should sound the alarms for fans.
Even following the signing of Cam Newton, the Patriots’ offense was never expected to be their strong suit in 2020. That consensus opinion came despite the fact that the defense endured a string of losses to both free agency and player opt outs during the offseason.
After a strong start to the campaign — the offense scored a combined 92 points over the first three weeks — fans began to wonder (and rightfully so) if Newton and Co. were capable of leading this heavily-flawed team to the promised land.
Then, however, the group hit a wall in Week 5 against Kansas City when Newton was shelved on the COVID-19 reserve list. Backup quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham combined to commit four turnovers and managed just 10 points on the scoreboard when all was said and done.
Fast forward to Week 6, and the offense once again struggled with turnovers (three) and were held touchdown-less until the middle of the fourth quarter. Newton made his return to the field, but he was visibly rusty after getting in just one practice worth’s of preparation leading up to the game vs Denver.
Well, in light of these struggles, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who’s in quite the rut himself, took to an interview with WEEI to express his concerns and what the offense has to do better moving forward.
"“I mean obviously we have to catch the ball better,” said Edelman. “I think just focusing on the little details of each play and getting back to fundamental football. It’s been a weird year and your mind wonders here and there.“You’re practicing, you’re not practicing, all these things, these factors — the best teams are the teams that are going to be able to focus on all those little route details, play details, scheme details and trying to play that to the best of your ability. When you start playing those little games, that’s when you play your best football, or at least I play my best football.”"
Those comments shouldn’t exactly instill confidence in Patriots fans. We get the reigning AFC East champs have their defects, but any team in the league, let alone one coached by a detail-obsessed maniac like Bill Belichick, is capable of doing the little things (like catch the football and not fumble) right.
Perhaps there’s been a lack of focus and attention to detail in light of the Patriots’ COVID-19 outbreak and their schedule being tweaked with, but Edelman using that as an “excuse” isn’t a great look when you consider how the Titans have overcome their situation, which was significantly more severe.
As for Edelman himself, he could really use a big game against San Francisco on Sunday. The 34-year-old wideout was limited in practice on Thursday with a knee injury, but he’s battled through the lingering issue for the last couple of games and he can be expected to do the same in Week 7.
After a blazing hot start to the year in which he tallied 13 receptions for 236 yards on 18 targets over the first two games, Edelman has since combined to log just seven catches for 66 yards on 18 targets, which equates to a lowly 38.8% catch rate, across the last three contests.
The three-time champ getting back on the same page with Newton will go a long way in helping the offense return to form, so let’s hope offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels gets him involved early and often against the 49ers on Sunday.