Greg Bedard used to cover the Patriots for the Boston Globe before he took a job with Sports Illustrated. He was always one of the better writers with regards to Xs and Os and he's done a great job of learning and explaining the intricacies of a complicated sport.
His latest work breaks down the extremely complex offense of the New England Patriots, with an assist by former Patriots offensive coordinators Charlie Weis and Bill O'Brien.
Bedard notes the four main adjustments that receivers will have to make on a typical play:
1) Route conversion; a change based upon defensive back coverage.
2) Sight adjustment; an adjustment to a blitz.
3) Choice route; an adjustment to defensive back location mid-route.
4) Option route; pretty much a combination of the above three changes.
Weis notes that it's not a surprise for Julian Edelman to be the only drafted wide receiver to succeed in the Patriots offense over the past 13 years. "He was a college quarterback," Weis said. "He thinks like a quarterback."
And Tom Brady himself will say why receivers need to think like he does if they want to remain on the field, per Bedard.
"If you haven't weeded out the guys that you don't count on anymore, those guys, they're not playing," Brady told reporters last week. "The guys that you count on, those are the guys that you're kind of in a foxhole with.... You've got to know who to count on."
There might be more to the decline of Scott Chandler's usage than just a knee injury, just like there was a barrier for Aaron Dobson to see consistent time on the field. If the player can't make the play, and if Brady can't count on them, then they're not going to see the ball and they're not useful in the offense.
"There were a couple guys in our past, he wouldn't throw the ball to them," says [former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis]. "You'd get pissed and say, ‘Why didn't you throw to him?' He'd answer, ‘I didn't trust him.' Which is not really a bad answer. It's not the right answer, but it's not a bad answer."
Bedard always writes in an extremely informative manner. Go check it out.