The Patriots have been without Julian Edelman since the first quarter of the Giants game when he broke his foot, now in a bit of good news, he seems not only ready to play but raring to go.
At the beginning of practice on Monday attended by the media, there were numerous clips of Edelman, running and cutting and showing the ability to change direction so quickly, something that his game is so dependent on.
Edelman at the time of his injury was the Patriots leading receiver with 61 catches and although he missed the last seven games and most of an eighth, still finished third on the team in receptions and second in receiving yards and touchdowns with 692 and seven respectively.
Where he was missed the most was on third down; at the time of his injury, the Patriots were humming along at a 50 percent success rate. After he went down that success rate plummeted to 31 percent.
Edelman can produce both inside and outside the numbers, he’s Tom Brady’s go-to guy in most third down situations when the need to move the chains. He brings that quick, short pass dynamic to the New England offense. Like Rob Gronkowski, his presence opens up territory for the other receivers to work in.
Last season’s Super Bowl run saw him throw for a touchdown against the Ravens in the divisional round and produce two outstanding plays in the Super Bowl during their comeback against the Seahawks. His catch and run of 21 yards on a third-and-14 in the fourth quarter was a huge turning point. He later caught the game winning touchdown from Tom Brady on a play that had failed on an earlier drive.
Edelman had surgery for his broken foot and will wear a metal plate in his shoe to prevent his foot from flexing too much and possibly re-injuring it. He returned to practice on December 10 but has been limited in his participation as the training staff didn’t want him to suffer any setbacks.
“I’m kind of my worst enemy when it comes to that, trying to over-push things,” he said. “We’ve had our staff work with me to keep me from hurting myself. So I think we’ve handled it pretty decent.”
Edelman told the media that he had been cleared to play and prepared to go “full throttle” on Saturday. He posted on his Facebook page a message stating as much, quoting Shakespeare, “Once more into the breach”.
There is reason for optimism now with Edelman obviously ready to go this weekend. He told reporters that he and Brady worked together one-on-one in the practice bubble after the walk-throughs of last week in an attempt to get their timing back and help Edelman get his legs back in condition.
So Edelman is the first domino to fall in the Patriots favor. They haven’t had him on the field in two months. That is a huge positive for the offense moving forward. Now they’ll be hoping that Danny Amendola, the second-leading receiver on the team, who has been bothered by a nagging knee issue will be closer to 100 percent on Saturday.
With a close-to healthy trio of Edelman, Amendola and Gronkowski, the Patriots offense is a much more difficult unit to stop. Then the secondary receivers, Brandon LaFell, Keshawn Martin, Scott Chandler and James White out of the backfield give them plenty of targets to work from.
It is thought that they may try to limit Edelman’s snaps this week in an attempt to ease him back into things. Judging from Edelman’s past and his fiery on-field temperament, good luck with that.
Pats Sign WR Worton: The Patriots added a new wide receiver on the practice squad this week, signing J.J. Worton an UDFA from Central Florida who spent some time with the Rams this season.
Worton was a red-shirt senior at UCF when he was injured late in the season and had ACL surgery. He’s got good size at 6’1, 210 pounds and had 168 catches for 2360 yards and 21 touchdowns in his college career.
He’s a big slot receiver who is quick for his size and moves well with the ball. He’s a very good blocker and has got good, soft hands. He was a punt returner with 740 return yards at UCF and was the holder on field goals there.
He’s got decent enough speed but is quicker rather than fast with some shifty moves in open spaces. He is now fully recovered from his ACL surgery and will probably provide the team with some scout team looks, playing the role of the opposition.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots 2015 Patriots Season Bill Belichick Brandon LaFell Danny Amendola James White Julian Edelman Keshawn Martin New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots passing game Patriots short passing game Patriots Training Camp Photos predictions Rob Gronkowski Scott Chandler Tom Brady