Rob Gronkowski‘s season-ending injury will force other Patriots tight ends, wide receivers and running backs to play a larger role in the offense over the final weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady needs to find a new go-to guy to target, especially in the red zone. Luckily for Brady, he has a few quality pass-catchers to trust.
Shane Vereen had a career game in the team’s comeback victory over the Browns in Week 14, catching 12 passes for 153 yards, both of which set records for a Patriots running back. The only NFL player who has averaged more receptions per game than Vereen this year is Falcons receiver Julio Jones.
One receiver who needs to step up in Gronkowski’s absence is Danny Amendola, who on Sunday caught his first touchdown since the Steelers matchup prior to the bye week. Amendola is averaging seven targets per game, and his ability to make tough catches in traffic makes him a reliable receiver on third down.
Another player who needs to raise his level of play is Julian Edelman, who has been one of Brady’s most trusted players all year with a team-leading 76 catches and 775 receiving yards. As a player with a lot of experience in the Patriots offense, Edelman is going to be called upon to make important plays late in games.