Monday night on Patriots Fourth and Two, Russ Goldman asked me if I thought the Patriots needed a deep threat. After one epically convoluted answer, I resolved myself to a wish-washy position and I want to clarify how I feel about this issue.
When it came down to it, I said no, the Patriots do not need to go out searching for that deep threat. I think there is a reason why Tiquan Underwood was signed back to the team and bringing in big name wideouts hasn’t fared well as of late. I think what the Patriots need is the threat of a deep threat, or as I will now refer to it, the “Threat Factor”.
The Patriots don’t need another big name receiver like Chad Ochocinco. They just need the threat factor, somebody to keep defenders on their toes. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
The Patriots need that guy who can receive the ball from anywhere on the field. As fellow PatsFans.com blogger Steve Balestrieri put it, this offense doesn’t air out the ball. They’ve changed their ways since parting with Randy Moss, their last deep threat option.
They need a guy who opposing defenses have to account for every time he is on the field. Somebody who can receive over the middle and also tip toe the sidelines. This somebody has to have good speed and a big enough build so defenders have a tough time pushing him off his routes.
The Patriots do not need a number one receiver. Their offense is more dynamic than most with their incorporation of the tight end position. I also have no doubt that Wes Welker will be back on the team, so their slot option is set. What they need the third piece, the piece that opens up the field. By opening up the field, the running game improves and Tom Brady has more options to work with.
Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is an interesting option to keep your eye on. In order for the Patriots to receive him, they would most likely have to give up one of their first round draft picks. This season Wallace made it to the Pro Bowl and led wide receivers in the AFC North with 72 catches and 1,193 receiving yards. The Steelers are seriously tight on cash so don’t be surprised if Wallace becomes available. Also don’t be surprised if he is picked up by the Baltimore Ravens or Cincinnati Bengals who have more money to spare and can make an addition by subtracting a tough divisional opponent.
So no, the Patriots do not need to go out and make the deep threat their top priority. Would it help, yes, but is it necessary, no. What they need to do is develop the threat factor on their offense and give defenses another thing to worry about aside from Welker and the tight ends.