FOXBORO, Mass. — What will the New England Patriots’ receiving corps look like without Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman? We’re about to find out.
With Cooks and Amendola both suiting up for other franchises and Edelman just days into his monthlong PED suspension, the Patriots’ receivers for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Houston Texans will be Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Chad Hansen, special teamer Matthew Slater and the recently promoted Riley McCarron.
A murderers row, this is not, as only Hogan has a history of production in the Patriots’ offense. And considering how important Cooks, Amendola and Edelman have been to the Patriots’ success in the past, those are large shoes to fill.
But Patterson, who joined the Patriots via trade in March, said he’s not feeling the pressure.
“I’m not nervous at all, man,” said Patterson, who spent last season with the Oakland Raiders. “It’s football. It’s something I’ve been doing my whole life. I’m just excited to be here and just ready for Sunday.”
Patterson showed off his intriguing big-play potential during the preseason, leading all Patriots pass-catchers with 11 receptions for 126 yards and one touchdown.
Can he be a reliable target for quarterback Tom Brady, though? That remains to be seen, as Patterson always has been more of a gadget player — uber-dangerous with the ball in his hands but not capable of handling a full route tree.
The majority of Patterson’s most exciting plays this summer came on either deep routes or quick passes close to the line of scrimmage. He’s also a home-run threat on jet sweeps and other handoffs (44 carries, 454 yards, six touchdowns in five NFL seasons), though the Patriots have yet to use him in that regard.
“Of course there’s a lot to prove, man,” the 27-year-old said. “But each and every day, I just feel thankful to be here. The opportunity I get, I’m blessed and happy, and every chance I get, I’m just trying to go out and make the most of it.”
The Patriots made two roster moves this week to shore up their receiving corps, claiming Hansen off waivers from the New York Jets on Sunday and promoting McCarron from the practice squad on Thursday. It’s likely Hogan, Dorsett and Patterson — plus tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Jacob Hollister and running backs James White and Rex Burkhead — will handle most of the pass-catching responsibilities against the Texans, though.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images