There is no other way to put it. This sucks. During the opening drive of this game, Julian Edelman went down from a non-contact injury and tore his ACL. He is now out for the season.
Everyone knows how important Julian is to this team and to this offense. There had always been the question of who was the straw that stirred this offense, Gronk or Edelman. Well we found that out in 2015 when Edelman was out and the Offense looked lost. Obviously, from a talent perspective, the Patriots are in a much better situation to deal with the loss of Edelman than they were back in 2015. We will not be seeing Keshawn Martin and Aaron Dobson running routes now without Edelman in the line up.
Your number one receiver is now Brandin Cooks. That is a given. Cooks has flashed in practices so far and seems to have a connection with Brady. However, so far in the limited snaps in the Preseason games, really hasn’t done anything. With Edelman out in the game on Friday, it was Chris Hogan who really stepped up.
With that being said, Hogan seems like to be a lock for your number two wideout. He had a great season last year. Now entering his second season with the team, I will not be surprised if he takes another step forward and has a even better season, especially now with JE11 gone.
Another thing that will be affected now with Julian out, is the use of the Running Backs. With Edelman out, the next person with the most 3rd down conversions last year on the team is James White. Look for him, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and maybe even WR-turned-to-RB DJ Foster to have more action in the passing game. The other Running Back who I didn’t mention is Mike Gillislee, who made his Patriots debut after being sidelined from injury all camp. The guy who is projected to fill in for the LeGarrette Blount in between the tackles role made the most of his snaps, with the first two going right into the end zone.
Gillislee did more than just work goaline snaps in the game though. He also had a nice burst which was nice to see after having trouble with his hamstring recently.
The Patriots looked to be clicking with Brady and co, however, the 2nd team unit didn’t have the same kind of luck. Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t get much going in the 2nd half and let the Lions come back and make it close. However, I will give credit to the 4th year QB that he marched the team down to set up the game winning Field Goal.
Obviously the win was good to see, however the Patriots walked out of Ford Field as the loser. They lost one of their most important players in Julian Edelman and it didn’t matter if they won 100-0, that is the big story of the game. We wish the best for Julian and hope he has a speedy recovery. This team is going to miss him, on and off the field. Let’s hope that someone, if it is Cooks, Hogan, Amendola, Mitchell or even rookie Austin Carr can step up and pick up the giant hole Edelman is leaving.