Tag Archives: Julian Edelman

New England Patriots: Chris Harper moving up Wide Receiver Depth Chart

With injuries tearing down the Patriots wide receiver depth chart undrafted rookie free agent Chris Harper has been working his way up the depth chart. Harper has played well so far this season not only as a receiver but also as a return man on special teams. We all know Bill Belichick loves versatility in his players and with Harper showing his ability to do multiple things on the field

via www.heraldnews.com
via http://www.heraldnews.com

Harper has been receiving a lot of snaps with injuries to Edelman, LaFell, Dobson and Tyms and so far has made the most of his opportunities. It seems very likely that Brian Tyms is going to end up on the season ending injured reserve and Brandon LaFell possibly starting the year on the physically unable to perform list and Aaron Dobson battling yet another injury the Patriots receiver depth chart would take a hit and need players to step up, and Harper could be that player. Through two preseason games Harper has tallied 12 receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown as well as averaging 10.7 yards per punt return and 23.8 yards per kickoff return.

via blog.masslive.com
via blog.masslive.com

Though it is just preseason and can never take anything into full effect Harper has gained the attention of coaches and players with his increase of snaps and production. The first preseason game third year man Josh Boyce was the main target for Jimmy Garoppolo, week two it was Harper who edged out Boyce on both offense and special teams. Boyce was not targeted at all on offense and didn’t receive any returns on special teams and I believe didn’t see a single snap in Friday’s win against the Saints. With the lack of depth the Patriots currently have at wide receiver the fact that Boyce didn’t receive a snap goes to show that New England doesn’t see him in their plans for 2015 and maybe the future. Harper seemed to have taken Boyce’s shot at the 53rd roster spot and will continue to fight for his spot over the next few weeks of practice and preseason. I would love to see Harper make the final 53 man roster with how he has played so far this preseason and wouldn’t want to risk losing him by placing him on the practice squad. I think the Patriots receiving corps should look like Edelman LaFell, Amendola, Dobson, and Harper, if all are healthy. Harper may not always be active or see a lot of playing time but keeping him on the roster would get him experience and playing time in practice as well as not risk losing him to another team by placing him on the practice squad.


New England Patriots Player Profiles: Will Julian Edelman Be Healthy Enough To Be The Top Receiver?

Without a doubt, the best wide receiver on the New England Patriots roster over the past two seasons has been Julian Edelman. Over the these last two years, Edelman has brought in 197 receptions, for 2,028 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Edelman’s role has greatly increased since Wes Welker departed for Denver in March of 2013.

Edelman was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of Kent State, where he was a read option style quarterback. In his rookie season he played in only eleven games. However, he still managed to be a solid third string wide receiver catching 37 passes, for 359 yards, and one touchdown.

In the years 2010 through 2012, the Patriots had the league’s best offense, with the emergence of the two tight end attack of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, along with Wes Welker consistently catching one-hundred balls. With all that production, with some injuries added in Edelman took a back seat on offense.


Nevertheless, in 2011 when the Patriots had some serious depth issues at the cornerback position, Bill Belichick used Julian Edelman’s athleticism to his own advantage. During that season, where the Patriots were at the bottom of the league in pass defense, Edelman was used heavily in nickel defense at nickel back. He was exactly Deion Sanders, but he was better than expected for a guy who played slot receiver. His versatility has made him a prototypical Bill Belichick Patriot.

In 2012, with Welker’s future with the Patriots in jeopardy, Bill Belichick began to plug in Edelman more at the top slot receiver spot. However, as was the case throughout most of his career he got injured. A fractured foot on Thanksgiving against the Jets, lead to Edelman being placed on season ending injured reserve.

In the offseason of 2013, Edelman became and unrestricted free agent. After receiving virtually zero interest from other clubs, besides one visit of the New York Giants, Edelman returned to the Patriots in April signing a one-year veteran minimum deal. He needed to prove that upcoming season that he could stay healthy and be a reliable number one receiver.

He did just that, beating out Danny Amendola for the top wide receiver spot and catching 105 passes, for 1056 yards, and six touchdowns. In a season where Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola were hurt for most of the time, and rookies such as Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins had to be first team players, Edelman was the one saving face.

This past season, Edelman was as reliable and clutch as ever. His regular season number speak for themselves, but in the playoffs is were he really shined. Most notably in the divisional round and in Super Bowl XLIX. Late in the third quarter of the divisional playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens the Patriots were driving down the field trailing 28-21. Brady threw a parallel pass to Edelman on what looked to be a screen. However, he pulled up and fired a picture picture perfect pass down the sideline to a wide open Danny Amendola for the game tying touchdown.


In the Super Bowl, the Patriots trailed by ten points in the fourth quarter facing a third and fourteen play that could end the game. Brady rolled around the pocket and fired the ball into the middle of the field right into the hands of Edelman who was absolutely clobbered by Kam Chancellor. Later in the game Edelman caught the go-ahead touchdown pass to give the Patriots the 28-24 lead.

So far this season, Edelman has not been able to get on the field to often due to a nagging ankle injury. He did not travel with his team to West Virginia for joint practices with the New Orleans Saints. It is a bit alarming that Edelman has not been on the field hardly at all this summer, but for a player with as much experience in the offense that he has you have to expect that he can just jump right back into action. It is best to be precautionary with him because of his importance to the team.

Julian Edelaman is such an important player to the Patriots offense because he serves almost as a spark plug. Whenever you need a first down conversion or a big gain, go to Edelman. Also, he has always been able to spark the team with a solid punt return to put them in good field position.

In conclusion, health will be the biggest question mark for Edelman in 2015. At a position where players take such as beating the risk of injury is so high. In addition, Edelman has not suffered a serious injury since 2012, and you have to believe that he is at a high risk of injury this year. If he can manage to stay healthy, pencil him in once again for about 90 receptions and near one-thousand yards and being Tom Brady’s favorite target.

Evaluations From Day Five Of Patriots Training Camp

After getting the day off on Monday, Bill Belichick had his team back out on the practice field on Tuesday afternoon. A later start at roughly 1:30 p.m, the crowd from the weekend diminished drastically, leaving fans in attendance with a much better view point for the practice. The practice schedule and routine was the same as the first four days, things are just slowly picking up as the days move on. Here are my three observations and evaluations from Tuesday’s session.

Injuries Pile Up: With players hitting mostly at full speed comes the increased risk of training camp injuries. At the end of Sunday’s practice, Julian Edelman came up limping after catching a low placed ball from Jimmy Garoppolo. Edelman was on the field in full pads to start Tuesday’s practice. However, after stretches he walked into the field house next to the practice field and never returned.

In addition, halfway through the practice during individual tackling drills between defensive backs and wide receivers, Brian Tyms was rocked by Robert McClain. It did not seem to be a cheap shot, but most players do not follow through with their tackles, except for McClain who took Tyms directly to the ground. Tyms was carted off the practice field with what looked to be an upper body injury.

Also, an injury that looked to slip under the radar at the end of practice was an alleged one to Rob Gronkowski. I first noticed when the first team offense was practicing goal line drills. Gronkowski was kneeling on the side, grabbing at his lower back. There was no sign of trainers looking at his back, but during the two-minute drills at the end of practice, Gronkowski sat out. He was walking okay at the end, so try not to panic to hard Patriots fans.


Jimmy Garoppolo Has His Best Day: Throughout the first four days of training camp, Jimmy Garoppolo was underwhelming to put it lightly. Nevertheless, on Tuesday he was pretty impressive. He started practice off slow, with his first pass being intercepted by Nate Ebner. However, his passes had some very nice touch on them, particularly in red zone situations.

His first two passes in live eleven on eleven situations were beautifully placed passes, hitting Travaris Cadet and Danny Amendola in stride in opposite corners of the end zone. His decision making still needs to speed up, but overall he is slowly progressing day by day.


Miscellaneous Notes: Malcolm Butler continues to build upon his Super Bowl heroics during training camp. During the first eleven on eleven session, Butler picked off a bullet pass from Tom Brady intended for Josh Boyce in the middle of the field. Also, he certainly does not lack in confidence as he continues to chatter back and forth with Tom Brady.

Practice for sure started off very chippy on Tuesday afternoon. It started off right away during seven on seven interior drills. Jonas Gray ran through the hole, only to be absolutely leveled by Jamie Collins from the right side. Gray got up a little ticked off and the two exchanged words for a moment.

In addition, Josh Kline was getting very scrappy as well early on, and Jordan Devey looks terrible as always. Kline was blowing back Jonathan Freeny and getting good contact on Jamie Collins. Especially on Freeny, pushing him all the way back to the sidelines. Devey looked as if he were on roller skates when Zach Moore made one move on him and blew up a run play in the back field.

Josh Boyce is also raising some eyebrows so far. I completely wrote him off from making the team, but he is seeing a lot of time with Tom Brady, and Jimmy Garoppolo especially loves targeting him. Boyce continues to burn seventh round rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts, on almost a daily basis.

The Patriots will have a light practice inside Gillette Stadium for season ticket holders, and residents of Foxborough and South Walpole on Wednesday night after the Hall of Fame induction of Willie McGinest. Stay tuned for more training camp updates on Goal Line Gazette.

New England Patriots: Evaluations From Day Four Of Patriots Training Camp

The first weekend of 2015 New England Patriots training camp is now in the past, and on day four the thousands of fans in attendance witnessed plenty of contact. I was one of those fans in attendance, and I found it to be the best day of camp thus far, from an evaluation standpoint. There was a lot of one on one drills, along with live team drills between the first team offense and the first team defense. So without further a due, here are my three biggest takeaways and evaluations from day four of Patriots training camp.

Aaron Dobson Shines Again: One of the biggest bright spots of camp so far has been the resurgence of third-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson. The former second round has stood out on multiple occasions, and none more evident than on Sunday. During eleven on eleven drills, Tom Brady threw a beautiful pass to Dobson down the sideline even though he was blanketed by Malcolm Butler. Dobson stretched out and made a phenomenal catch, erupting the massive crowd.

Dobson was targeted often by both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo during practice. In addition, during one on one drills against the cornerbacks, Dobson beat out Logan Ryan making another great grab. Also, he made one move on Bradley Fletcher and left him in the dust.

Aaron Dobson.

Darryl Roberts Continues To Struggle: As one Marshall Thundering Herd succeeds during training camp with Aaron Dobson, the other on the roster, seventh round rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts, continues to have a tough time acclimating himself to life in the National Football League. Going into training camp, I had Roberts listed as my rookie sleeper that would stand out, as did Malcolm Butler last year, and Zach Sudfeld the year before.

For the second straight day, Roberts was toasted by wide receivers on multiple occasions. On Sunday, Roberts was beaten by Josh Boyce three separate times. The first was during one on one drills, where Boyce ran a flag to the corner of the end zone and Roberts did not even turnaround to look for the ball. That has been a common occurrence throughout camp.

The other two times came during team drills where Boyce just ran right past Roberts, and his only choice was to maul Boyce before the ball could get to him. He is certainly living up to his pre-daft billing of being to aggressive down the field.


Miscellaneous Notes: Jerod Mayo for sure came out firing at practice on Sunday. Twice during four on four drills in which two linebackers and two defensive tackles, would go up against three lineman and a running back, Mayo blew past James White sacking the quarterback. He then seemed to take it easy for the rest of practice, riding the bike heavily.

Furthermore, there was a bit of a scare for Patriots fans during practice as Julian Edelman came up limping after he caught a low placed ball from Jimmy Garoppolo where he was then tackled by Patrick Chung. He eventually walked it off, but then sat out the rest of team organized drills.

Also there was some very spirited competition between Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler during one on one sessions. Butler won three times, but Edelman got the last laugh spinning the ball in Butler’s face.

Stay tuned throughout the week for more training camp updates.