Patriots Mailbag: How Julian Edelman Should Be Used In Eventual Return

Could Julian Edelman be the new Danny Amendola?


November 20, 2020

It feels like things have settled for the New England Patriots.

Between injuries, the COVID-19 outbreak, game rescheduling and scrambling to use players out of position, the Patriots were in a constant state of flux through the first 10 weeks of the season. Now, the Patriots seem to know what they’re working with on offense, and they’re playing to the strengths of their defense.

This isn’t to say that the Patriots will definitely continue their winning ways, but the team does seem to be on the upswing heading into their Week 11 matchup with the Houston Texans.

Do you think Edelman comes back?

Based on everything I’ve heard from sources and what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has said publicly, yes.

Belichick said last month that Julian Edelman’s knee injury wasn’t season-ending. Belichick said this week that Edelman hasn’t suffered any setbacks.

So, that’s all good news for a potential Edelman return.

I personally don’t believe Edelman should be given the same share of snaps he was receiving early in the season in his return, however.

The Patriots have shown over the last three weeks, really, that they can move the ball offensively without Edelman. Jakobi Meyers can fill that typical Edelman role while playing outside and in the slot as quarterback Cam Newton’s safety valve. The No. 2 and 3 spots in the receiving corps can be split between Edelman, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry and newcomer Isaiah Ford.

Edelman could still be effective in the role Danny Amendola played in the Patriots’ offense from 2013 to 2017 as more of a situational pass catcher. Essentially, that would mean Edelman would come onto the field on third-down and in obvious passing situations like two-minute drills and fourth-quarter comeback attempts. It’s the offensive equivalent of the third-down situational pass-rusher.

That would improve the Patriots’ passing offense while also limiting the wear and tear on a 34-year-old wide receiver’s knees.

And the Patriots have enough depth at wide receiver otherwise to continue putting three-receiver sets on the field with Byrd, Harry and Ford as options.

Will Kyle Dugger continue to see as many snaps, or was that game plan specific to slow down Lamar Jackson?

I think Dugger will see an uptick in snaps moving forward, but he probably won’t be playing 88 percent of snaps, as he did against the Baltimore Ravens, every week.

Dugger earned more playing time based on his performance Sunday night. But he was used in a specific gameplan to stop Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.

So, I think Dugger’s snaps will waver moving forward. Perhaps he could eventually pass a player like Adrian Phillips on the Patriots’ depth chart. But the Patriots have a ton of playable defensive backs on their roster in Dugger, Phillips, Devin McCourty, Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones. They can’t be in a quarters defense every snap, so you’ll see some ebbs and flows in snaps depending on the opponent and game plan.

If the Patriots tender JC Jackson at the first round level, what are the chances someone tries to sign him?

Likely but not definite.

No one tried to sign Malcolm Butler after the Patriots gave him a first-round tender in 2017. And while the situations aren’t exact, they’re pretty similar.

Jackson has more upside than Butler provided at that point. But Butler was PFF’s seventh-ranked cornerback in 2016, and he started every game for the Patriots in 2015 and 2016.

Jackson leads the NFL in interceptions. He’s PFF’s 17th ranked cornerback this season. He started just six games in 2019 and four so far this season.

So, there’s a very real possibility that, assuming the Patriots slap a first-round tender on Jackson as a restricted free agent, no team would be willing to not only sign Jackson to a long-term contract but also give up a first-round pick for his services.

That would mean the Patriots could either retain Jackson on a one-year deal around $5 million or sign him to a long-term deal.


Patriots Pro Bowlers: 2.5

Michel carries rest of the season: 39.5

James White receptions rest of the season: 17.5

Cam Newton passing TD rest of the season: 7.5

How many of Thuney, Jackson, Gilmore, Andrews, Newton, Guy are back in 2021: 2.5

Let’s go rapid fire.

Do you think Thuney deserves a contract or will Bill stay the course and trade him/let him walk. Like always.

Unless the Patriots decide to franchise Thuney again, then they’ll probably let him test his market and then decide whether or not to pay up. Contracts will be cheaper next offseason because of the lowered salary cap.

Do you think we?ll see any running back change when Michel comes back? #MailDoug

Do I think they should insert Michel into the mix? No. Will they? That’s another story.

I think Michel is redundant with what the Patriots currently have at running back (which is working).

Do you think if Cam leads this team to the Postseason he will earn himself the starting position next year?

It takes two to tango. Ultimately, yes.

Do you think the patriots will go on a run and make the playoffs this year?

I’ll still say no at this point, but they’ve looked much better the last three weeks.

Is it too late to vote Onwenu for president?

I think we’ll have to wait until the 2036 election.

Hey Doug, it?s donut here. The neck roll has been a carried tradition on the Patriots roster. In recent history, since 2013, the team hasn?t ranked lower than 4th when a player equips a neck roll. Do you see the lack of production being related to the lack of a neck roll? Thanks.

Yes. One-hundred percent. Jakob Johnson needs to unearth James Develin’s old neck roll like it’s Thor’s hammer or something.

What happens to Sony next offseason? does he play for NE, get cut/traded? I think he is a good player. Unfortunately for him our O-line got its best combination this year when he was out. I think he could have done what Harris has done with this current Oline #MailDoug

I think he’ll be back for insurance purposes.

Favorite donut?

A cinnamon cake donut. The granual sugar kind, not powdered. Needs to be a little crispy on the outside.

Needed my food question too. Know you’re not a big toast guy, but how about rating these spreads. Peanut butter, Nutella, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, marmalade, insert your favorite. #MailDoug #DougsBuds

For toast specifically?

I’d go:
Blackberry jam
Raspberry jam
Peanut butter
Strawberry jam

maildoug Are the Patriots of the last 6 quarters who they really are or was it more due to the Jets being the Jets and the Ravens missing some key defenders. In other words, should Patriot fans be optimistic!

They should be cautiously optimistic. The New York Jets are trash, and that game against the Ravens could have been an anomaly because of the injuries and weather.

If the pats were to get some WR?s this off-season, could Harry be converted to a TE?

I don’t think so. I think they’ll want to keep trying him at wide receiver. I could potentially see another team trying to make that switch if Harry doesn’t last with the Patriots.

How are you holding up during this tough times for your family? Hope you?re doing as well as possible

Thanks for asking, Dave. As some of you know, I lost my father last week. I wrote about him on my personal Instagram account if you wanted to check it out:

We’re hanging in there. Work and football has been a good distraction for me, and I’m trying to spend as much time with my mom as possible. My 3-year-old daughter misses her Papa but is a good distraction for her Nana.

I would like to add that I wouldn’t be doing this without my dad. He introduced me to football, Emerson College, communications, everything.

Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images
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