Tom Brady Confidence Index, Week 2: Julian Edelman on the rise
|09.15.13 at 4:22 pm ET|
This past preseason, we debuted the Tom Brady Confidence Index, a by-the-numbers look at the comfort level the quarterback had with the rest of the offensive skill position players when it came to the passing game. Because of the reaction we got, we’ve decided to make it a semi-regular feature, and expand it to include overall offensive touches (receptions and carries, with more weight to carries in clutch situations) and how comfortable the quarterback might appear to be with some of his teammates when it came to trusting them in certain situations.
As always, we rate each of the skill position players and their relationship/comfort level with Brady on a scale of 0 (Taylor Price) to 100 (Wes Welker) on their body of work to this point in the season.
(Disclaimer: While most aspects of this blog deal in mathematical specifics as it relates to football, this entry is more of a tongue-in-cheek approach to Brady and how he relates to the rest of the New England offense. Bottom line? Don’t take the rating system too seriously.)
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: 89 (last week: 75) season stats: 20 catches, 27 targets, 157 yards, two touchdowns. Despite the fact that he wasn’t immune from Brady’s wrath, he was the only receiver Thursday night who displayed anything close to a working chemistry with the quarterback, finishing with 13 catches (on a whopping 18 targets) for 78 yards. (He now has a rather unique record as a result.) Through two games, he leads the team in receptions (20), yards (157) and touchdowns (two). Provided he stays healthy, he will be absolutely essential to the New England passing game, particularly if Amendola is on the shelf for anything more than two weeks.
Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins: 62 (last week: 61) season stats: six catches, 21 targets, 89 yards. The only reason this isn’t lower is because it’s clear Brady will be going to him again and again in hopes of developing some sort of connection with the rookie. Going back and rewatching the tape from Week 2 as opposed to Week 1, there was some improvement there, even though Thompkins went from four catches against the Bills to two against the Jets. First, he was facing a higher level of competition against New York (he was matched frequently with Antonio Cromartie) and second, there was more confidence and precision in his routes against New York than their was against Buffalo. It will be interesting to see how he responds this week, as he will likely face All-World cornerback Darrelle Revis when New England meets the Bucs.
Running back Stevan Ridley: 51 (last week: 22) season stats: 25 carries, 85 yards, 3.4 YPC, five negative plays, one fumble lost. He didn’t fumble this week — which, given the rainy second half and the fact that he was facing a front seven that was better than we maybe gave them credit for — is a good sign for the running back. The final numbers weren’t terrific (16 carries, 40 yards), but given the week he had and the body of work he’s already assembled, it’s an improvement from Week 1.
Wide receiver Aaron Dobson: 50 (last week: N/A) season stats: three catches, 10 targets, 56 yards, one touchdown. First, the good: He showed an acute level of ability in the first touchdown catch of his career, taking advantage of a defensive breakdown on the part of the Jets and getting a free release into the secondary for his touchdown catch. The play was impressive in that he showed a nice level of patience in letting the play develop and running well after the catch. Second, the bad: There was no excuse for the drops — three of them, by our count. Regardless of what constitutes a drop, it’s something he can’t replicate going forward. He was put in a tough situation this past week because he was in on three walkthroughs in the days leading up to the Thursday night game, which makes for a tough week for a rookie who was preparing for his first taste of NFL action. He’ll get a shot at redemption Sunday against Tampa.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: 50 (last week: 50) season stats: 11 carries, 26 yards. Blount has been used sparingly to this point in the season as the Patriots continue to try and find ways to get him on the field. He had four carries for 11 yards and one kick return for another 25 yards.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and fullback James Develin: 47 (last week: 47) season stats: two catches, four targets, nine yards. These two hybrids continue to see some significant time as part of the offense — Develin got some reps split wide against the Jets — but neither are offensive centerpieces. That’s not to say they don’t have value as part of the New England scheme. Instead, they’re more blockers as opposed to pass catchers or guys who move the chains.