Another preseason game, another season-ending injury.
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman tore his ACL against the Lions last Friday. He will miss the entire 2017 season.
“It’s horrible. (There’s) too many preseason games,” Boston Globe Patriots beat reporter Jim McBride said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Nothing good ever happens in these games. A guy might win a roster spot here and there, but more bad things happen. The reaction here (has been) pretty devastating for the first couple of days since that injury. It reminded a lot of people around here of when Wes Welker got hurt in kind of a meaningless game at the end of the season a few years ago down in Houston. Same type of play.”
Both injuries were of the non-contact variety.
“He was Brady’s favorite receiver at the time,” McBride said of Welker. “I guess the only silver lining is that it happens this early in the season and Josh McDaniels and Coach Belichick will be able to figure out a plan. They have some time to put together something to kind of compensate for that loss. But there’s no question he was the guy that drove this offense and (has been) Brady’s favorite receiver for years now and, like you said, a real chain-mover on third down.”
Edelman, who is under contract through 2019, has 439 receptions since 2013 (playoffs included). Brady’s next top target during that time? Rob Gronkowski, with 249.
Gronkowski, as well as wideout Brandin Cooks, will have to produce even more in Edelman’s absence. Cooks, 23, had 75+ catches for 1,100+ yards and 8+ touchdowns in each of his last two seasons in New Orleans.
“He was really an eye-opener during camp,” McBride said. “His quickness and his speed, his ability to get downfield so quickly is something that we haven’t seen in this offense since probably the Randy Moss days. I’m not comparing the two completely because Randy was so big and had such a wide catch radius. Brandin doesn’t have that, but he does have that unbelievable speed, and they worked a lot on deep patterns during camp. They really worked on it and they were in sync. They haven’t really showed that in the preseason games, and I think that’s just a product of why show your hand before you have to in those meaningless games? But what you’ve seen in camp, they’ve developed a rapport pretty quickly.”
The Patriots open the season against Kansas City on Thursday, Sept. 7. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.