Some people were wondering how certain receivers might fit into the offense. Some think that players like Brandon Tate will go across the middle a la Anquan Boldin, while others think that Tate will be a speed guy doing crosses like Percy Harvin. Well, here's my opinion and take on what the Patriots' receivers are going to be doing this upcoming season.
I used my professional "Microsoft Paint" to draw this picture, so laugh it up. I think it gets the point across, and it reminds me of what I would do for a 3rd Grade School Project. Whatever, it works!
Here's the key: I believe that some players will be asked to do similar routes. I think that every young player has a veteran player they're essentially paired with, so that the knowledge and experience gets passed down. Now I know that not every young player matches up identically with a veteran, so that's why I've adjusted some of the trees accordingly.
Read my breakdown after the jump!
Pink Route: 81 and 19. Randy Moss and Brandon Tate. I believe that Moss and Tate will be asked to run pretty much the exact same routes as a receiver. Now Moss is taller and will be able to out-jump cornerbacks- something that I don't think Tate has the size to be able to do- but I still think they'll run similar patterns. However, even though they'll have the same basic routes, I think that the players will be asked to run each route in different frequencies. While I believe that both players will get the opportunity to run straight down the field, Moss will be the player doing the sideline out routes (the lines towards the sidelines) and Tate will be doing the across the field slant routes. While I picture Tate as a little more finesse than a player like Boldin, I believe the slant routes use Tate's speed to his advantage, while still allowing him to get dirty.
Orange and Light Purple Route: 83 and 11. Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. We all know that Edelman has been called Welker Jr. and whatnot and we all know that both players have been asked to run basically the same routes. The only real difference between Welker and Edelman is size- and Edelman has 1 inch and 15 pounds on Welker. While that may seem small, I think the weight allows Edelman to put his body more on the line downfield and in the way of safeties, as opposed to Welker who flourishes on quick passes and YAC with his excellent vision. Therefore, the Orange extension is what I believe Edelman adds to the offense- another possible body down field.
Dark Purple Route: 82 and 87. Alge Crumpler and Rob Gronkowski. Crumpler was brought in as a veteran presence for the tight end position and Gronkowski is a perfect understudy. Both are large targets (with Gronk have 4 inches on Crumpler) who know how to block. I think that both will have the same route tree, but I believe that Gronk will be favored in the end zone due to his size. Their job is to create mismatches in the middle of the field- and that's why I think they'll be asked to run in every direction.
Blue Route: 85. Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is all alone, but that shouldn't impede his growth as a playmaker on offense. He should run a similar route tree to the other tight ends, but I believe that his downfield speed will make him a better option on the move, so he can use is downhill momentum. I don't think that Hernandez will be asked to come back for the ball because that eliminates his biggest asset- his speed.
Green and Cyan Route: 84 and 17. Torry Holt and Taylor Price. I think that both Holt and Price are less finesse and more strength than Moss and Tate. While Moss and Tate have the potential to be YAC monsters, I see Holt and Price being more utilized to move the chains. Holt will use his experience to catch the ball, but I think that Price will have a slightly bigger route tree than Holt. Price, with his young body, will be asked to run across the field more often to make the big plays and get the first down. I'm not saying that Price won't be able to run downfield (but I don't think Holt will be able to), because I think that Price will get his fair share of extra yardage. I just think that Price will be more of a possession receiver first, breakaway receiver second. Yes, I know that Price has 4.4 speed. He'll use it. I just think of him as a more physical receiver than Tate and Moss. I think Price will be able to fight his way free for extra yardage, while I think that Tate and Moss need more open space to get that yardage.
So what do you think?