With the recent addition of Reggie Wayne, the Patriots arsenal has only gained strength. Wayne adds some much needed depth to the receiving core, and with his recent arrival to the team it begs to ask, just how good is this Patriots offense?
It is no surprise that this squad was one of the best in the league last year, and, after this signing, they only appear to be gaining strength. Wayne adds another level to an already complex offense, and if you ask me I would have to say that this group has taken the top spot as the best offense in the National Football League.
Brady, who for much of his career has had to make do with mediocre talent rather than acquiring stars, is truly spoiled with the amount of talent on this offense. Each position is chalk full of skilled ball players, and so I thought it would be good to look at a breakdown of the three main offensive skill positions, running back, wide receiver, and tight end.
Out of the three positions that were previously mentioned this is the weakest of them all. That is not to say that this position is problematic, it is just not as prolific as the other two skill positions listed.
The running back core has many capable backs, but the far and away started is LeGarrette Blount. Blount is the perfect back for this offense, as he complements the passing game well and keeps defenses honest. He reminds me of Corey Dillion back in the mid 200’s era. An excellent power back who has the ability to wear down defenses and kill the clock.
Blount has demonstrated this ability well, especially against the Colts and the Bills, during the 2013 season. While defenses are used to the Patriots’ aerial assault, Blount adds another layer of attack, and in return this opens up space for the pass catchers to produce.
Now Blount is not the only back capable of helping out this offense. Brandon Bolden has demonstrated his ability to be a solid 3rd down back, and both James White and Travaris Cadet have shown that they can be threats receiving out of the back field.
This a good group of running backs, although they are not the strongest in the league. This problem, however, is easily masked by the quality and skill of the rest of the offense.
This is by far the deepest area of the Patriots arsenal, especially when you take into account the signing of Reggie Wayne. Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I can read into the Patriots’ injury reports, but there are several receivers who are currently are listed as injured. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that everyone is healthy for week one. If we do that, then there is very little debate that the Patriots’ receivers are some of the best in the league.
Edelman is without a doubt the best slot receiver in football, and Brandon LaFell adds another dimension to the offense. While LaFell’s numbers might not jump off of the page, his deep threat ability allows for players such as Edelman and Amendola to get free underneath. LaFell’s importance to this team cannot be understated. With this team full of super stars, LaFell often falls by the way side, but he is an integral piece to what the Patriots are trying to do. I expect an even better year than last from LaFell, and his presence should help out the whole team, especially Reggie Wayne.
Wayne, who is a new acquisition, could not be a more perfect fit for this team. He brings experience, and a will to win to New England. He could have signed with any team in the league, yet he chose the Patriots because he wanted to win a championship.
Out of the receivers that New England has signed in the past, Wayne is the least likely to fail. He is smart, and has been in complex offenses before. He is no stranger to a difficult playbook and should fit into New England just fine.
The Pats do have other receivers, but apart from Amendola, I don’t see any of them contributing a big way. Brian Tyms seems as though he is going to lose his season, and Aaron Dobson has been nothing but disappointment since his rookie year. He showed so much potential, but nagging hamstring injuries have sidelined him, and, although he is still young, I have moved on from him. The NFL is ‘what have you done for me lately’ league, and Dobson, frankly, has done nothing lately.
I know it is not his fault that these injuries occur, and when he is healthy he can produce, but his constant sidelining has lost him a roster spot in my mind. I don’t see the Pats moving on from him though, and with a receiving group as skilled as theirs, there is no real risk in holding onto Dobson.
I’m only going to talk briefly about the tight ends, as most know much about them already. As the entire league has seen for the past five years, Rob Gronkowski is the by far the best tight end in football. He has dominated defenses and is virtually uncoverable.
Unless he is faced with an injury, I don’t see any way that he doesn’t continue to have success, especially now that the Patriots have got him a new buddy to play with.
Over the offseason the Patriots went out and signed former Bills tight end, Scott Chandler. Chandler is perfect opposite Gronk, more specifically in red zone scenarios. Chandler is another big target who has had previous success against New England in the past.
He is great because he is just one more dangerous threat for Brady to have when he is on the goal line. I don’t think Chandler will put up any monster numbers, but the Pats should get some good production in the red zone from him.
With the addition of Chandler, I think it is safe to say that New England has the best tight end tandem in the league. Hopefully, this time it doesn’t end like…you know, Hernandez.
Overall, this is a very talented, and very deep offensive roster, and with the flames of ‘deflategate’ lit solely underneath them, I for see some record setting performances, and a year reminiscent of 2007.
By Jake Cianci