Patriots Mailbag: Don’t Get Hopes Up About Deion Sanders’ ‘Guarantee’


This might be more difficult to rationalize for fans rather than media members, but when the New England Patriots are imperfect, it makes upcoming games that much more intriguing.

Maybe I would be as excited about the Patriots’ matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday anyway, but New England’s recent struggles make the game seem more fascinating. It will be telling to see if the Patriots’ offense can match the Chiefs’ offense. And that Kansas City offense will be another genuine test for a Patriots defense that got beat by the Houston Texans on Sunday.

With two days still to go, let’s get into this week’s mailbag. Also, watch above for the first mailbag segment on “NESN After Hours.”

What is Deion Sanders talking about? Help is on the way. What is your take?
— @rankjas
I don’t think Sanders was trying to report anything about the Patriots acquiring offensive help. I think it was basically just a passing statement since the Patriots always find a way to acquire help when they need it.

Sanders even mentioned the Patriots making a trade, and the trade deadline was weeks ago. So, I really wouldn’t get your hopes up or look into it too deeply. That tells you how serious to take the statement.

Maybe something crazy happens and the Patriots do wind up acquiring help, but it would be purely coincidental.

When will Sanu become a feature target? It’s like we have him use him you know.
— @swagg_z0mbie
I think it will take Mohamed Sanu getting fully healthy. It seemed the Patriots were limiting Sanu’s snaps in Week 13 because he was still recovering from an ankle sprain. Once Sanu is back on the field in a full capacity, I definitely think his role increases.

In an ideal world, Sanu gets healthy, becomes the Patriots’ No. 2 wide receiver and boosts the offense.

Who is more to blame for Sony Michel’s lack of production? Himself or the offensive line?
— @TurkSanderson16
I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. The Patriots lost left tackle Trent Brown and wanted to replace him with Isaiah Wynn, who got hurt. So, Marshall Newhouse spent a lot of time at left tackle this season.

David Andrews also went down before the season, so Ted Karras replaced him at center. Now James Ferentz has replaced Karras, who hurt his knee.

Then fullback James Develin got injured. Then Develin’s backup, Jakob Johnson, also got hurt and was placed on IR. So, now the Patriots are using linebacker Elandon Roberts at fullback in a limited role.

The combination of losing Andrews and Develin was a tough one. Andrews is one of the best centers in the NFL, and while he’s undersized, he’s proven he can play in a zone or power scheme. The Patriots probably could have continued to run the ball effectively without one of them, but not both.

Ferentz is an interesting replacement for Karras, because he’s on the smaller and more athletic side. He could be better suited for zone runs with a full-time fullback out of the offense. That could mean a heavier dose of James White and Rex Burkhead than Michel.

Are you done with Dorsett?
— @JustinMH90
No, definitely not. But it needs to be understood that Phillip Dorsett has some limitations. He’s best utilized as a No. 3 or 4 wide receiver. And when he draws attention as a No. 1 or 2, then he’ll have some trouble getting open and being productive.

The best thing to happen to Dorsett would be for Sanu to get healthy and emerge as that No. 2 option.

#maildoug…how good is Myers? I believe in Myers
— @rok_seoul
I think Jakobi Meyers is really good for an undrafted free agent. He has tons of potential, is very smart and has the right mindset inside the Patriots locker room to learn the complex offense and gain the trust of Tom Brady.

Sure, he’s going to make mistakes just like any rookie. But it was telling that Brady kept going to Meyers after the receiver made a mental error Sunday against the Texans. Brady did not go back to N’Keal Harry under similar circumstances.

You tend to scoff at fans who are too critical of the Pats when they struggle, which I agree with you until now. It really seems the offense is in a world of trouble this season. They haven’t done anything well for more than half of the season now. Is there a fix? #maildoug
— @JefFullerMyself
Sanu will help. Maybe the Patriots’ run game suddenly finds itself with Ferentz at center? I don’t know. The Patriots’ offense won’t suddenly be high powered by the postseason. So, you have to hope the defense will continue to carry the team. It’s been pretty successful so far this season. The Patriots are 10-2. But you would like to see some more juice offensively.

Let’s go rapid fire.

Is this the year Edelman finally makes a Pro Bowl, or is his performance going to be overshadowed/adversely impacted due to all the negativity around the Patriots offense?
— @UWallflower
I’d put him in there, but he does have a lot of competition. He’s third in the NFL in receptions, 11th in receiving yards and 21st in touchdown catches. That seems good enough for the Pro Bowl to me.

I always hear about how difficult it is for receivers to learn our offense – is it time for McDaniels to “dumb it down” somewhat to get it going?
— @RommelRoo
The problem with that is the complexity of the Patriots’ offense is also its strength. A real conundrum.

Seeing as most kickers are absolutely crap. Why is it that random premier league footballers seem able to nail them in all the YouTube videos? Why don’t they just go abroad for talent? Not bring funny, but I reckon even I could do a better job.
— @Phil_Me_Up_
Remember that YouTube videos can be edited.

Are you practicing your kicking in case you get the call? #Patriots #MailDoug
— @Michaeloptv
I’m a left-footed kicker, so I think I’m a better fit for the punting role. Too bad it’s already filled.

Gilmore at WR for a couple plays?
I’d love to see it, but that’s very doubtful. Stephon Gilmore is a tremendous cornerback. There’s no reason to risk anything by having him play wide receiver too. Even if Salty Steph said the position doesn’t look too hard.

#MailDoug Any insight into what Bill could do at the Kicker position? Any chance Bailey could fill this role?
— @BostonBen34
The fact New England didn’t use punter Jake Bailey as their kicker last week after Nick Folk had his appendix removed on a Thursday before a Sunday game in a dome speaks volumes. I can’t see it happening. I’d expect Folk or Kai Forbath to be kicking again Sunday.

Will the Patriots win the AFC east?
— @njjosselyn

What do you want for Christmas? #MailDoug
— @TeamCrazyMatt
I already got a new car, so I shouldn’t really ask for anything else. Except for world peace. I’d like world peace. Can you get me that, Matt?

Will the Pats/Bill EVER draft a speed LB hybrid that can cover TE’s and RB’s? I know his prototypical LB is bigger but he needs to adjust to the league.
— @JBoss_
He needs to adjust to the league with the best defense in the NFL. Got it.

Doug, If the standings stay Pat wouldn’t it make better sense for Pats to stay #2 seed and have to face either Ravens or Chiefs than be top seed and have to face them both? If Ravens are one and done than we host AFCG.
— @Patsman11261980
That’s some galaxy brain thinking. But, no. Get home-field advantage. The Patriots don’t want to travel to Baltimore. And more importantly, I don’t want to travel to Baltimore again.

Did the Patriots attempt to claim Chase McLaughlin, and would they try to get Vinatieri back if he is released?
— @MyNameIsAviJ
Yes, they did, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they signed Adam Vinatieri if he becomes available. Vinatieri at least has been in the NFL. Folk, Forbath and Mike Nugent were all on the street for varying lengths of time when they signed with the Patriots.

Not literally. I’m sure they had homes.

@DougKyed Where is Joejuan Williams? I don’t see him out there on defense.#MailDoug
— @Krithik90843901
On the sideline or inactive list with a bunch of talented cornerbacks ahead of him on the depth chart.

Why are some pats fans already labeling Harry a bust? As if they expected him to be Randy Moss after 3 games.
— @ms_unique_kidd
Became some Patriots fans are impatient brats who need immediate gratification.

Shovel snow or racking leaves ?
— @tom_tbrothers88
Shovel snow. I just don’t rake the leaves in my yard. I let them blow into the woods. Everyone should just stop raking leaves.

what’s your favourite sandwich?
— @somegingerguy23
Chicken salad sandwich with swiss cheese and bacon from the Good Food Store.

Thumbnail photo via Thomas B. Shea/USA TODAY Sports Images

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