Hurry Back Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez Ninja

How long will Brady's new favorite target be out?

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

The Patriots will be missing everyone’s favorite ninja for the next 1-6 weeks depending on whose source you believe.

Aaron Hernandez came out of Sunday’s game against the Chargers with an MCL sprain. The injury occurred in the 4th quarter after Hernandez took a shot from Bob Sanders’ helmet to his knee after a five-yard reception. Hernandez stayed in the game for five more plays before leaving for the sideline.

The Boston Globe originally reported the injury could hold him out for 1-2 weeks. Comcast Sports Net’s Tom Curran countered hearing it could be a 4-6 week injury while the Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport is hearing 1-2.

Here’s hoping the optimistic reports are more accurate. Other than Tom Brady, you could say that Hernandez might be the most important piece of the Patriots’ no huddle offense.

Hernandez has the ability to line up out wide as a receiver, inside as a tight end and even in the backfield as a fullback/h-back. Hernandez’s speed creates mismatches in the opposing defense and opens up the field for Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

The ability to throw two outstanding tight ends at defenses creates the uncertainty as to whether the Patriots are passing or running the ball. Hernandez is such a great route runner and has such imposing size that throwing either a defensive back or a linebacker one on one on him is a constant mismatch.
The most obvious replacements for Hernandez are tight end Dan Gronkowski and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, though both have their disadvantages.

Gronkowski won’t know the offense as well as Hernandez, which will limit his route running and he’s not nearly the mismatch that Hernandez is with his limited speed.

Ochocinco once again won’t create the same kind of mismatches and will have to prove that he knows the Patriots offense like the back of his hand before he can be a part of the Patriots vaunted no-huddle offense.

Will this literally slow down the Patriots offense? Yes. They won’t be able to stay in the no-huddle nearly as long. Does this mean the end of the Patriots electric offense? Absolutely not.

Ochocinco was brought to New England for a reason and this is the perfect jumpstart he needs. If Ochocinco isn’t up to speed with the no-huddle, I would expect to see Matt Slater or Taylor Price take his place.

The Patriots will be able to get by in Buffalo and Oakland without Hernandez, but he might be a necessity to throw off the Jets stout defense. I’d expect the Patriots to ramp up their rush attack in their next two games, which means more BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley and Nate Solder. The extra active roster slot could also mean we could see Taylor Price or Shane Vereen make the trip to Orchard Park or Oakland.

For most teams, losing a player as talented as Hernandez for even one game could mean trouble, but Tom Brady has more weapons than he’s ever had before. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Hernandez’s knee.

8 Responses to “Hurry Back Hernandez”

  1. TD says:

    I don’t know about a blessing, I would rather have #81 getting the ball than #85 at this point.

    Not sure what a tomato can means, but we always have problems w/Bills in Buffalo and we face Seymour and the Raiders in Oakland next week.

  2. Liam says:

    Hate to see injuries, but this could be a blessing in disguise. A couple of games against Tomato cans is just what we need to get 85 involved in this offense. I think two weeks from now we really see if the Ochocinco investment will pay dividends.

  3. D. T. says:

    I’ve been noticing that the articles are all tabbing Branch as Brady’s security blanket. Well, last game it was the TEs. Last season it was Woodhead and before that, Welker, then Faulk. Which one is it? If I count up, Brady has 6 security blankets – Woodhead and Faulk, Welker and Branch, Gronk and Hernandez.

    Conclusion: Brady’s favorite player is the dude who’s open where he wants him.

    The media needs to recognize this and stop trying to peg one dude as Brady’s blanky.

    • CC says:

      As long as they keep on “TRYING” to peg one dude as the security blanket, and are without the ability to lock that “one guy” down……’s all good D.T.!!
      As for Hernandez and his injury, I’d hold himout as long as possable. Maybe throw him in on a play here and there just too make oponents think a bit, but I’d for sure hold off on sending him back in permanent like and make sure he get’s any of the proper recovery time he need’s. *As noted….It also is a perfect time for Brady and the Pats offence to utilize “Ocho” and others, Including IMO “Verreen and Ridley
      On another note: The Chargers do have a dirty streak in them, I missed the 1st 1/2 of the game, but heard they went after Brady’s knee? It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they couldn’t get Brady….they go for one of his weapons on the field if given the chance. They’ll regret soon enough not getting the job done well enough, as will the rest of the leage throughout the year!

      • D. T. says:

        I think Ravens, Steelers, Chargers are all teams that would try to go for Brady’s knee. But I remember Bruschi saying that if he was stll playing, he’d look at the X-ray Arian Foster posted on Twitter and target his hamstring on purpose – he talked about trying to twist it right there to take him out.

        I’m jussayin’ that while it may be dirty, everyone including the Patriots do it.
        I was a little bugged that the refs didn’t CALL it though.
        And there has to be some kind of disadvantage to faking injuries to stop the no-huddle.

        And I’m not complaining about them not getting it right. I’m fed up with Media talking heads who have no idea what they are saying. Seriously. I think I could be a better sportswriter.

  4. Lundahl says:

    What about Ras I Dowling ?

    • Doug Kyed says:

      No update on Ras-Island yet, except that it’s a thigh injury. Hoping for the best, Pats are definitely going to need him to stay healthy this year.

      • Lundahl says:

        Do we know the grade of the injury or whatever they call it. He was on the sideline. So I assume if his injury is basically well treated the following days, he could be back for Buffalo. Until now he didn’t committed any penalties I believe. Yeah, we need him.

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