Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman heading to injured reserve pretty much changes nothing for New England.
There’s simply no hiding from the fact that the New England Patriots’ matchup with Buffalo on Sunday will make or break their season. The latest rumors indicate that a loss could coerce general manager Bill Belichick to sell heavy ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline, so winning this game is paramount.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, their increasingly stagnant offense will be down two of its top playmakers, as starting wide receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion protocol) have already been ruled out.
On top of that, the defense’s task of thwarting Josh Allen and Co. will become even more daunting if cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) is unable to go, but let’s keep this particular discussion focused on the offense.
Edelman underwent a knee procedure this week and is reportedly headed to injured reserve, which will sideline him for at least the next three games. For fans in New England who view this news as a crushing blow to the offense, well, don’t, because it changes nothing for the Patriots.
We obviously know that Edelman has meant a lot to the Patriots through the years, but he simply hasn’t contributed much this season. He does lead the team in receiving, but his stats (21 catches for 385 yards) are extremely underwhelming and just further amplify the struggles of the passing game.
Those numbers were largely inflated by his Week 2 performance vs Seattle, when he racked up eight receptions for 179 yards. In four games since then, the three-time champion has hauled in just eight passes (on 21 targets) for 79 yards, which equates to an impossibly bad 38% catch rate.
Not only that, but Edelman is currently logging the lowest snap count of his 12-year career. His 68.1% snap share is close to a 20-point nosedive from his 87.4% total in 2019. For added context, the 34-year-old has never played fewer than 78% of the offensive snaps in seasons in which he featured in 16 games.
It’s encouraging to hear that Edelman’s subpar campaign can mostly be attributed to his lingering knee issue as opposed to him falling off the proverbial veteran cliff (it’s probably a combination of both), but don’t expect his absence to have a huge impact on the offense.
The Patriots still have glaring issues on that side of the ball and Edelman wasn’t doing much to fix them through the first six games of the season.