Adam Schefter on D&C: New-look Patriots offense lacks chemistry
|09.09.13 at 10:06 am ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to talk about the Patriots’ 23-21 win over the Bills in Sunday’s opener.
Despite the victory, the Patriots left the game with concerns — namely, the lack of production from Tom Brady’s weapons. Brady targeted starting wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins 14 times, but the rookie was only able to make four catches for 42 yards. Meanwhile, the tight end position collectively had one catch: a five-yard reception from Michael Hoomanawanui.
Schefter explained that with young, inexperienced players at impact positions, it may take some time for the offense to jell.
“To expect them to be great early on, right away, without some of that chemistry is probably unrealistic,” said Schefter. “You don’t just lose these guys and pick up these other guys and think that that machine is going to run the same way.”
One of the bright spots on the offensive side was the play of wide receiver Danny Amendola, whom the Patriots signed this offseason to replace Wes Welker.
Amendola set game highs in catches (10) and receiving yards (104) and converted a pair of key third downs in New England’s game-winning drive. The fifth-year receiver put a scare into the Patriots faithful when he limped off the field toward the end of the first half and sat out the remainder of the period.
Amendola’s groin injury did not force him out of the second half, but Schefter questioned New England’s next step if the oft-injured Amendola, who missed 20 games in the last two seasons, were to suffer another serious injury.
“When Amendola goes out of the game like that, and you know how fragile he has been in the past, you can’t help but wonder, ‘What if he is gone?’ ” said Schefter.
If Amendola was unavailable at anytime this year, the onus would fall on younger receivers like Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson and Julian Edelman, who caught a pair of touchdowns Sunday.
Schefter also addressed the possibility of the Patriots adding a wide receiver via free agency, particularly former Patriot Brandon Lloyd, who is unemployed.
“If some of these guys are not developing, and Amendola’s injured, and [Rob Gronkowski]’s recovery is coming along slowly, and whatever it may be, I think maybe you turn back to Brandon Lloyd at that point in time. I don’t think that’s out of the question,” said Schefter.
However, he also warned that there was a reason a talent like Lloyd remains available.
“Think about it like this: The Broncos gave up on him, the Rams gave up on him, the Patriots gave up on him. Three teams in less than a span of less than two years, so that kind of sends you the message that maybe, just maybe, there’s something to the player,” said Schefter. “Now, he’s been a good player in this league, but clearly there’s a reason teams are giving up on him, whether it’s the personality, whether it’s the workouts. I don’t know the actual reason, but if there are that many teams that need receiving help and are saying goodbye to you, there’s a reason for it.”
The Patriots return to action Thursday against the Jets, and despite New York’s well-documented myriad problems, Schefter expects the Patriots to be challenged.
“The one thing that you can say about the Jets is that the defense is pretty good, and Rex Ryan, for all his bravado and all his faults, he still is a good defensive football coach and that team will be tough on Thursday night,” said Schefter. “Now, there’s no reason New England shouldn’t win the game again, but the fact is that the Jets are a little bit better than I think people portrayed them this summer.”
New York started the season on a positive note, as rookie quarterback Geno Smith led his team to an 18-17 win over the Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium.
“Geno Smith, yesterday, it wasn’t like he went out and played like Colin Kaepernick, but he played well enough, made some good decisions, to give that team, for one week at least, a little bit of hope that maybe they have something there,” said Schefter. “He was mobile, he bounced back, he was resilient.”
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