After consecutive AFC Championship losses, the New England Patriots are in dire need of improvement. A Buffalo Bills fan, who hasn’t seen the playoffs since 1999, may feel content with 2nd place in the AFC, but as a spoiled Patriots fan, I am left unsatisfied.
Despite getting off to a slow start, the offense is in good shape; they finished inside the top ten in all the offensive league averages, but there is always room for improvement.
The Patriots have 12 wide receivers on their roster, not including Rob Gronkowski, with an average height of 5-foot-8. What is this, Munchkin Land? I understand that the offense is predominately run through the slot, and small receivers who are low to the ground and make precise cuts are a necessity to that style, but it’s not a coincidence when a player like Rob Gronkowski at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, runs deep routes across the middle, and the offense all of the sudden becomes more lethal.
The thing that Gronkowski does now and Randy Moss used to do is spread the field so other receivers can get open. I love Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, but they are mainly slot receivers; they won’t be caught dead downfield, and if they are it’s because coach Belichick is desperate.
Last offseason the Patriots drafted Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson in the second round, and standing at 6-foot-3, I thought for sure he was going to be a sleeper. At Marshall he was a god, the second coming of Randy Moss, dropping zero balls on 92 targets in his senior year, including a sensational one-handed end-zone highlight, but when he got to the pros he more or so resembled Randy Moss during his Oakland Raider days, finishing with 519 yards and 4 touchdowns on 37 receptions. Granted, it was his rookie season and he wasn’t fully healthy, but I’m not so sure the Patriots can rely on him to be the deep threat of their offense.
Like previous offseasons, there has been plenty of talk around Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald joining Tom Brady and the New England offense; however, no matter how much I love that proposition, I’m not a fool.
Fitzgerald is too much of a nice guy to leave the Cardinals hanging; he just restructured his contract last season and took less money. If he can’t be bought, maybe he can be persuaded with the idea of winning, but it just seems too good to be true.
So, in case the Patriots don’t get Fitzgerald, in case Dobson doesn’t pan out to be the next Randy Moss, and in case Gronkowski doesn’t last another full season, which is highly likely, then the Patriots should look to draft a big man who can spread the field.
I’ve been reading a lot of articles about New England’s draft prospects, and I kept coming across the name Jace Amaro. Amaro is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end out of Texas Tech. I thought the Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski duo was something special, but ever since Hernandez got arrested I’ve been looking for someone to fill the void.
Amaro isn’t the typical tight end that lines up and blocks downfield; he fits more into the new age of tight ends that line up outside and catch passes. He may not be complete with the ability to block like Gronkowski, but that can be learned; however, what can’t be learned is what he possesses, and that is the ability to go up and get it.
Amaro had a terrific junior year, setting a number of NCAA records, including, the single-season record for most receiving yards per game by a tight end. He would be a perfect fit in New England’s two tight end system; however, due to the fact that he will most likely be taken in the first round, and the fact that the Patriots have other priorities, mainly on the defensive-side of the ball, it’s unlikely that he’ll be in a New England next season, yet like the idea of Larry Fitzgerald, it’s always fun to dream.