How will the Patriots replace Julian Edelman? That's the question New England faces this week after Edelman suffered a season-ending right knee injury early in the Detroit game last week.
"When you have that level of experience of game situations, practices, we've had so many hours of time together talking about routes and situations," QB Tom Brady remarked in comments on WEEI. "So much of quarterback-receiver relationship is about trust and I see things a certain way and the receivers need to see it the exact same way in order for me to really anticipate where to go with the ball. He and I just have had that. We're so in sync… We have to find a different way to do it."
A Boston Herald columnist predicts that one Patriots receiver in particular is primed to fill into Edelman's role nicely.
"[Chris] Hogan is ready to have a great year, and that may have happened regardless of what took place with Edelman Friday night in Detroit," the writer declares. "But with Tom Brady's go-to guy now sidelined, Hogan is primed to step into the spotlight and be that next guy to emerge."
However, an Eagle-Tribune opinion piece asserts that replacing Edelman won't be so easy.
"This is a different dilemma. When [Wes] Welker left, Edelman quickly filled his go-to role/safety valve in Brady's offense, in almost seamless fashion. The last time Brady was without Edelman for a signficant stretch – 2015, the Patriots were 3-4 after the injury – he was not himself, with his four lowest QB rating games of the season," that writer argues.
Meanwhile, the Patriots have issues to address at defensive end, where the club released veteran Kony Ealy over the weekend. A NESN.com story asks what's next for New England at the DE spot now that Ealy is out of the picture?
Ealy was an early cut. NFL rules are different this year, as teams only have one cut-down date instead of two. That comes this Saturday, when rosters are trimmed from 90 to the final 53 for the regular season.