With Josh Gordon ending up on Injured Reserve this week, it was another blow to a Patriots offense that has been juggling personnel in and out of the lineup all season long. In recent weeks they've welcomed new additions like Ben Watson and Mohamed Sanu, while they look forward to possibly getting N'Keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn, their most recent first round picks, back by Week 11.
But if and when those two players do come back, all options to return from IR will have been exhausted, and that will signal that the Patriots are locked in on the team they will try to take back to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in sixth years.
With Tuesday's trade deadline fast approaching, time is running out for the Patriots to swing one last deal to shore up an area of weakness, especially on offense, but the question is do they need to?
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case is…
Do the Patriots still need to make a trade deadline move to improve their offense?
Mike Dussault says…
While Harry and Wynn are still unproven in the health department, the team clearly liked them enough to invest first-round picks in them and at some point you need to just put them in and let them play. Harry should be a suitable X-receiver, which has never been the most vital role in the offense. He showed the ability to make catches down the sidelines and with the rest of the weaponry around him, even a limited contribution should be enough. Wynn showed good athleticism in limited action the last two summers and if he's healthy, he'll be their best possible option at left tackle, especially since Trent Williams would be a nearly impossible acquisition now given the Pats cap situation after acquiring Sanu.
The tight end position is the final spot that could be considered for a trade upgrade, but Benjamin Watson looked ready to contribute in his season debut against the Jets. There no guarantee a newcomer could step in and pick up a position in the offense that is equally involved in the run and passing games. Watson and the three other tight ends on the roster might not all add up to Gronk, but together they should be effective enough and cover a wide array of roles.
Erik Scalavino says…
As we approach the midpoint of the regular season, this Patriots offense is far from a finished product – unlike its counterparts on defense, which just keeps getting better each week. New England's O has yet to find any sort of consistency at the wide receiver position, which has been frequently banged up. And now they have a new player in Mohamed Sanu to incorporate into the scheme. Ditto for the tight ends, who are now trying to get a 38-year-old Benjamin Watson back up to speed.
Meanwhile, the offensive line continues to struggle with its run-blocking, and that's taken away a component of the arsenal that was so effective last season, particularly in the playoffs. The NFL trade deadline is this coming Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. It wouldn't at all surprise me if the Patriots are active in trying to acquire more players on offense. There's still time for the coaching staff to turn this offense around. After all, it wasn't until January last season that we saw them put it together. But entering Week 8, this team has a lot of work to do on that side of the ball before I'm comfortable with the product they put on the field.