New England Patriots: Gesicki injury a big pain for Patriots' struggling offense

Tight end Mike Gesicki leaves practice and potentially a huge hole in the Pats offense.
Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki (88) makes his way to
Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki (88) makes his way to / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have essentially built their 2023 squad after the long offseason. The feeling is that they did some very nice work but left some massive questions on the team looking ahead.

Good offseason moves included free agent signings wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and tight end, Mike Gesicki, drafting two top players in Christian Gonzalez and Keion White, and also loading up with interior linemen to plug holes there. And, oh yes, they also signed Malik Cunningham as an undrafted free agent, perhaps one of the potentially most impactful additions of all.

In addition to the good, there are also the bad and the ugly. There are several key omissions that Belichick and his personnel team failed to address enough. One bad omission was not seriously addressing the backup running back situation. The ugly include not adequately augmenting the offensive tackle position, either in free agency or the draft (no picks).

These issues are primarily on offense since the defense seems well-stocked at most positions and is ready to go. There is one more deficiency, however, where a recent development could prove harmful and potentially disastrous should the worst eventuality occur. That is the tight end position and the recent injury to the aforementioned Mike Gesicki.

The New England Patriots are rail-this at tight end after the top two.

The New England Patriots were taken to task in this space for neglecting to draft even one tight end among their twelve 2023 draft picks. It was a serious and somewhat reckless omission. Now, an injury to Mike Gesicki has called into question one of the previously best units on offense (at least in its' starters), though depth after Gesicki and Hunter Henry is almost non-existent.

The New England Patriots like to utilize two-tight end sets. Henry and Gesicki are both legitimate NFL younger veteran tight ends. Healthy, they will likely rack up about 100 catches and 10 TDs. It's a nice place to have been. Gesicki's injury, if serious, however, changes everything. The plan may have fallen apart before either Henry or Gesicki have even taken a snap in the pre-season.

Beyond those two solid players is a waiver-wire-level veteran, Anthony Firkser, and several untested and unheralded young players. These are rookie, Johnny Lumpkin, and first-year players Scotty Washington and Matt Sokol. In essence, there's not much there to be excited about.

New England Patriots' tight end depth is dubious

In 2022, the New England Patriots' tight end situation was equally bad or maybe even worse. They had Henry, but their second option was Jonnu Smith, a very costly flop. In a move applauded here, Smith was unceremoniously shipped out of town to Atlanta for a seventh-round draft pick. This year, the twosome mentioned above presaged a nice tandem for Mac Jones or whomever to utilize in Bill O'Brien's new offense system.

That is, until it wasn't. News of Gesicki's arm injury portends a whole host of hurt for the Patriots as they try to dig themselves out of a self-administered hole at tight end. Top Pats' beat reporter, Mike Reiss Tweeted out the following,

Nothing good can come from this situation. The thought here has been that having two solid tight ends is great and apparent strength. However, if the team lacks adequate legitimate backup(s), it's a situation fraught with peril. The team may very well be caught with a serious deficit therein now.

As noted, the move was to draft one or even two tight ends to provide adequate depth. One of these should have been a higher pick, maybe a third to fifth-rounder, and then perhaps add a filler in the sixth. There were options.

Belichick passed, and now one of the offense's few units of strength may be in jeopardy. Not adding to the tight end, running back, and offensive tackle rooms are huge demerits for Majordomo, Belichick, and his personnel operation. What had to seem obvious to much of Patriot Nation was evidently indiscernible to the team's key decision-makers.

Keep your fingers crossed. Should Gesicki's injury be of a serious nature, Belichick and his offense will be bereft of one of their key strengths. In the case of the offense, it's not a great portent for success when one of your few strong units could be depleted.

The moral of the story is that when winning teams are constructed in the offseason, you need to use all available resources to strengthen every unit. In the case of the tight end room, as with the offensive tackle and running backs' situations, the offseason team-building grade is clearly a failing one.