Patriots’ Offense Scuffling
As the New England Patriots set their sights on a prime-time Monday night showdown with the under-performing Kansas City Chiefs this coming week, there's a lot of cause for concern. Unlike years past, when the Pats came out looking good and like a force to be reckoned with, this New England team is much less fierce.
A top cause for their weak exterior, thus far, is the inept ability offensively. In all honesty, if you remove Julian Edelman from the offense, it's almost impossible to find another reliable target for quarterback Tom Brady to try and get the ball to.
For a team that started camp with a bevvy of options at wide out, it's been a ghost town in terms of production on the field. Julian Edelman has starred as the only producer with 22 catches for 260 yards and a touchdown. The rest of the team's receivers, however, have not even been able to combine to match Edelman's numbers. They've produced just 14 catches for a measly 128 yards. Guys like Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola have gone virtually unused so far although they were both brought in last season to be top options for Brady. Whether it's a lack of chemistry or something else it has got to be fixed soon.
The blame doesn't fall solely on the receivers though as the tight end group has been less than reliable this season as well. Game changer Rob Gronkowski has been the most productive one of this group. Brady has shown a definite sense of comfort with Gronk on the field though he has been used sparingly as he works his way back to 100 percent after tearing his ACL last season. Tim Wright, who came over in the Logan Mankins trade, has been limited as well. It is unclear if he hasn't fully grasped the playbook or if the chemistry between him and Brady has yet to reach a comfortable level. Nevertheless, the Pats gave up a key player to get him so he's got to start producing.
The running backs have started the season off slowly, as well. Stevan Ridley has managed to hold on to the ball so far but doesn't seem to be going anywhere with it. He's not alone either. In their last game the backs as a unit rushed for just about 2.7 yards per carry against a league worst Raiders rush defense. That's not going to cut it.
Now, for the offensive line. This has maybe been the worst part of New England's offense so far. Week one was a struggle to keep Brady upright and it hasn't got much better since. There was some improvement against the Vikings in week two but a large regression on Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, the Pats traded their all-pro leader Mankins this preseason and that move has looked disastrous thus far. Sometimes change isn't a good thing.
With all of their offensive issues, the Pats still hobble into Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium this coming Monday at 2-1. That's thanks in large part to tremendous special teams work and a sound defensive attack. While the Chiefs have under performed on the young season and have suffered some tough injuries to key players, they looked great this past weekend and always perform well at home. If the Pats' offense doesn't work out some of the above issues they could easily slip to 2-2 going into a Sunday night showdown with the red hot Cincinnati Bengals in two weeks.