|Julian Edelman #11 had 61 receptions last season in only 9 games played. (source: www.foxsports.com)|
Ranked #87 on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016. Last season Edelman was limited to only 9 regular season games but still put up pretty impressive numbers with 61 receptions for 692 yards and 7 TD's(career high). Adding Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett and re-structuring Amendola's deal only benefits Jules. Not to mention still having the best TE in football Rob Gronkowski. Going into year eight for #11 will be a huge one seeing how he has only played 16 games just once in his first 7 seasons. That season was 2013 when he had career highs in receptions (105), targets (151), and yards (1,056). If he can stay healthy and play all 16 he should set new career highs in every statistical category.
Edelman is one of the better route runners across the NFL and probably the quickest out of his routes. His option routes 5/7 yards down the field are virtually impossible to stop even with a great lock down corner covering him. Very curious to see how defense's will try to contain this high powered O. In a formation the Patriots use quite often called "Shoot" Edelman will be in the slot off the line of scrimmage as the "A", Amendola would be the opposite slot off the line of scrimmage at "Z", Gronk would be spread out wide on the line of scrimmage as the move TE the "Y" and Bennett or Hogan would be spread opposite of Gronk on the line of scrimmage as the stretch WR at the "X". Also you can't forget about Dion Lewis coming out of the backfield as a legit threat to make plays down the field. Defensive coordinators are going to be up all night scratching their heads trying to game plan against what could and should be a historic offense.
In the regular season Edelman's reception total by game was 11, 11, 8, 4, 6, 5, 7, 5, 4. So many of those catches were in clutch situations for key first downs when everybody knew where Brady was looking especially on third downs. Even when Defenses started to cover him different with a number 1 corner in the slot or a number 2/3 corner with safety help over the top, Edelman still managed to rack up receptions and found ways to get un-covered. In the two playoff games Edelman was targeted a total of 29 times with 17 receptions (both team highs). The Pats were a perfect (9-0) in the first 9 games Julian was healthy in. Tom Brady needs #11 healthy and on the field because he really is what makes this offense gel so smooth and continues to move the chains especially on third down.
Go Pats, follow me on twitter @MRO3_boiii