After getting embarrassed in back-to-back games, there isn’t much going right for the New England Patriots at the moment. While there are a number of issues that have led to their current 1-4 record, it would be tough to find a bigger problem than their offensive personnel.
It has gotten to a point where one prominent former Patriot believes Bill Belichick, who has long served as the Patriots general manager, may need some assistance with those duties.
“I think he needs a little help on the offensive side,” Julian Edelman said on FOX Sports’ The Herd With Colin Cowherd. “You look at the defensive picks, they all look pretty good. They always come out and they perform. The Christian Gonzalez kid, before he got hurt, looked like he was playing good.
“But we have whiffed — and I hate talking about Coach like this — but we have whiffed on a lot of offensive skill-position players. I won’t call guys out, but there were three, four receivers when I was playing that we got in top rounds that [didn’t work out].”
Edelman did not name specific names, but New England used four top-100 selections on wide receivers during his tenure. That included Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, Aaron Dobson and N’Keal Harry, all of which the team cut ties with before the end of their rookie contracts.
“You look in camp, and you can always see from a guy that’s drafted high,” Edelman said. “You see one trait. You know they’re raw, but you could see one trait. ‘Yep, that’s a first-rounder.’ You’re looking, and you’re like, ‘Ehh, what’s going on here? That’s not a first-rounder. I don’t know what’s going on.’ “
Additionally at the receiver position, Edelman was left “shook” at one of Belichick’s most recent moves.
“I’m still a little shook on the Jakobi Meyers departure,” Edelman said. “I didn’t get that.”
Meyers initially signed with New England as an unrestricted free agent in 2019 and outperformed that year’s first-round selection, N’Keal Harry, during his tenure. Despite Meyers’ success and fit with the team, the Patriots opted to let him walk in free agency this past offseason.
“He could separate a lot,” Edelman said of Meyers. “He could run routes. He was tough in the run game. He would go in and block [with] force. And that’s what you preach as a New England receiver: Get open, catch the ball, and block in the run game. Those are the three things you hear all the time. This receiver group we have, it just seems like they’re struggling to create separation regardless of the reason. They haven’t been able to separate.”
New England instead chose to replace Meyers with JuJu Smith-Schuster, who signed a similar three-year pact that Meyers received from Las Vegas. While many believed (hand up, us included) Smith-Schuster would be an upgrade due to his ability after the catch, the opposite has occurred.
Through five games, he has only contributed to the offensive struggles, recording just 14 receptions for 86 yards while ranking dead last in the league in YAC over expected.
“I think he would be the first to tell you that he’s had some screw-ups,” Edelman said of Belichick’s offensive personnel moves. “He’s a very accountable guy. And I do think that they probably do need a little more help on the offensive side of scouting, or something.”