Julian Edelman Has Yet to Make a Big Impact in 2016
WR is again limited in practice with foot issue
The Patriots face the Pittsburgh Steelers this week and most of the attention is on the fact that QB Ben Roethlisberger won’t be suiting up for the Steelers. But the Patriots have their own issues this week, among them is getting Julian Edelman more involved in the passing game.
Edelman hasn’t been himself thus far in 2016 and one has to wonder if his foot injury that kept him out of a large chunk of last year is causing him some problems. Thru six games a year ago, Edelman was rolling along with 40 catches, totaling 449 yards and four touchdowns. The “Minitron” moniker seemed to fit just fine and the Patriots were undefeated and barely tested.
This season, the results aren’t anywhere near 2015’s numbers. Edelman has just 28 catches for 261 yards and has yet to score in 2016. While the first month of the season he was working with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, his two most productive games were the first two weeks of the year.
Much of Edelman’s production comes from his chemistry and timing with QB Tom Brady and the two always seem to be on the same sheet of music. He did well with Garoppolo but his timing was off and not surprisingly, once Brissett took over. Brissett got very few reps this summer with the top unit of the offense and so his chemistry with guys like Edelman was lacking. And Brissett was dealing with injury concerns with an injured thumb that later forced him to IR.
Working with three different QBs this summer and into the early season will pressure anyone’s timing and chemistry but the problem appears to be a physical one.
But after putting on a clinic during a joint practice this summer, Edelman pulled up lame, as an issue with his injured foot where’s he had surgery twice reappeared. It was deemed minor but now one has to wonder if it has been bothering him more than is being let on.
He’s reappeared on the Patriots injury reports recently as being limited in practice with the aforementioned foot issue. He was listed as questionable in both the Cleveland and Cincinnati games. As with most issues, when all else fails you rely on the eye test.
Edelman doesn’t seem to have his normal burst coming off the snap and his patented change of direction, which is at times astounding, seems to be just a little bit off from what we’re used to seeing.
With Brady’s return a week ago in Cleveland, it was thought that the QB would turn to his most trusted receiver and best friend on the team in his first game back. Brady targeted Edelman 10 times against the Browns. But the two only connected on five of those passes for 35 yards. Against the Bengals, Edelman was targeted seven times and logged in just four receptions for 30 yards. While a very small sample size, his nine catches out of 17 targets is far below his normal 65 percent catch rate he’s enjoyed with the Patriots. There is the element of rust with Brady, the QB has mentioned it a few times and perhaps the two just need some more time to recapture that magic.
Of course with the additions of Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett, those two have been very productive in the early going thus far in 2016. Both have taken targets away from everyone else as the QBs are spreading the wealth around what is a pretty talented group of receivers.
This week will be a good measuring stick for the Edelman and Brady connection against a Steelers defense they both know very well. Facing much the same unit a year ago, Edelman produced 11 catches for 97 yards in the Patriots win over Pittsburgh in the opener for 2015. This is a defense that has issues stopping the pass and Edelman would be a key player to start things off with this Sunday
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Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 NFL Season 2016 Patriots season Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chris Hogan Danny Amendola Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Martellus Bennett NFL Patriots Patriots wide receivers Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady