What could a fully healthy Julian Edelman bring to the Patriots’ offense?
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick preaching that the season wasn’t over when the team found itself with one of the worst records in the AFC (2-5) after a four-game skid has clearly resonated with the players in the locker room.
While the Patriots still have their doubters, and rightfully so, a two-game winning streak — which included a season-defining victory over Baltimore in primetime on Sunday night — has catapulted them back into the thick of the playoff picture.
However, they have some tough upcoming fixtures, so it goes without saying that they’ll need all hands on deck for the final stretch.
Well, in a surprising turn of events, Belichick actually offered up some valuable insight about a player’s health. During his latest media session on Wednesday, he revealed that wideout Julian Edelman hasn’t suffered any setbacks amid his recovery from knee surgery and could return to practice this week.
Edelman was placed on injured reserve back on Oct. 31, meaning that he’s eligible to return and the Patriots will have a 21-day timeframe to activate him to the 53-man roster once he’s given the green light to practice.
Living up to his restrained reputation, Belichick didn’t provide a set date in terms of when Edelman will return to the practice field, but his impending clearance will serve as a huge boost for the offense, which has quietly found a groove over the last three weeks, scoring a combined 71 points — their most in a three-game span this season.
Cam Newton, along with the emergence of sophomore studs Damien Harris and Jakobi Meyers, have played a massive role in that. The 31-year-old quarterback has returned to the player we saw at the start of the year before he came down with COVID-19 and endured a brutal three-game stretch from Weeks 5 to 7. He’s racked up 657 total yards and five touchdowns across the last three games.
Newton’s chemistry with Meyers has been a delight to watch unfold, and you have to think that opposing defenses will start making it a priority to have someone else beat them. That’s what makes Edelman’s return so important; he’ll provide some much-needed balance to the offense, which has been far too dependent on Newton, Meyers and Harris over the last month.
We know Edelman wasn’t offering much prior to going under the knife, but a fully healthy version of him could be just what the doctor ordered for the Patriots with such a pivotal stretch of games upcoming. If not for the emergence of Meyers and Harris, however, this might not even be a conversation.