New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been cleared to play in the upcoming divisional round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but rumors are swirling that he may have limitations. While Edelman is not the biggest or fastest wide receiver in the league, he is quarterback Tom Brady’s security blanket, and plays a crucial role in the Patriots offense. If Edelman is unable to be the player that the Patriots are accustomed to, it could spell trouble for Brady and the rest of the offense.
According to Joe Amorosino of 7News, Edelman is going to be playing with a plate in his cleat for the duration of the game.
— Joe Amorosino (@joeamorosino) January 10, 2016
Football players are traditionally very particular about their attire and equipment during games, and this is going to jeopardize Edelman’s ability to make cuts and reach his full speed. According to Comcast Sportsnet New England, Edelman is absolutely going to have to adjust his playing style.
— CSNNE.com (@CSNNE) January 11, 2016
Whether or not this ultimately hurts his effectiveness remains to be seen, but Brady is going to need his number one receiver if he hopes to have a big game against a tough defense. Although Edelman has been practicing in a limited capacity since December 11, he has not suited up in a game since November 15. Since it has been two months since Brady and Edelman have played on the field together, they have reportedly been staying late after practice together to work on chemistry and timing, as reported by ESPN.
While the Patriots were still able to earn a bye in the first round of the AFC playoffs, they were in position to achieve home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for most of the season. After losing Edelman in November, the Patriots offense has had something missing, and it may have cost them the top seed.
As reported by The Inquisitr, the Patriots will host the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 4:35 p.m. At the moment, they are five point favorites over the visiting Chiefs, and should have the advantage when it is all said and done. Regardless, the Chiefs are the hottest team in the league right now, and Andy Reid’s team is no pushover.
While Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, he relies on Edelman considerably in the Patriots current offense. All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is the best at his position, but his numbers are even suffering with Edelman out of the lineup. Without Edelman, Gronkowski has nearly two less receptions per game, and almost 30 fewer yards. He has also failed to reach 100 yards receiving, a number that he achieved five times with Edelman in the lineup.
— CSNNE.com (@CSNNE) January 8, 2016
Brady’s numbers are also down across the board. While he is still playing at an elite level, Brady was the best quarterback in the league for the majority of the year. Since Edelman went down, Brady’s accuracy is down by five percent, his touchdowns are down, and his interceptions are up.
Brady w/ Edelman – 79.7% Accuracy, 2.21 seconds to throw, 24 TD/3 INT Without – 74.7% Accuracy, 2.55 seconds to throw, 12 TD/4 INT
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 5, 2016
In addition to his playmaking abilities, Brady also has been said to admire Edelman’s work ethic and determination. Originally a college quarterback, Edelman was a long shot to be a successful NFL wide receiver. While he was modestly successful during his first few years in the league, he has become the perfect wide receiver for the New England Patriots offense. He also has undeniable chemistry with Brady, and loves to impersonate him.
While the latest rumors say that Julian Edelman is going to have to adjust his play for this week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots should come out victorious. With Edelman back, Brady, Gronkowski, and the rest of the Patriots offense is going to be much stronger.
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