2013 Was No Flash in the Pan for Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman

This former MAC QB has been a versatile pick for the Patriots.

NEPD Staff Writer: Jason Cappell

When Wes Welker signed with the Denver Broncos in 2013, it signaled the end of an era. And when New England opted to sign Danny Amendola from the St. Louis Rams as Welker’s heir-apparent, it became readily evident that the Patriots were indeed moving on. 

The comparisons between the two were endless. Both receivers attended Texas Tech and both were high volume pass catchers who could also contribute to the return game. The Patriots’ move made perfect sense at the time as Amendola was younger, faster and more athletic than Welker. Many believed Amendola would fit in seamlessly and the offense wouldn’t miss a beat. Some even speculated that Amendola was an upgrade.

But there was one slight problem.

Amendola had been injury prone throughout his whole career and 2013 proved to be no different In the opening game against Buffalo, Amendola injured his groin and went on to miss four games.

Many then believed that the Patriots offense was doomed. After all, Wes Welker had left for Denver, Aaron Hernandez had been arrested on murder charges, and Rob Gronkowski was once again on the shelf, this time with a forearm injury.

The pressure was now squarely on rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce to carry the load. But to everyone’s surprise it was former college quarterback turned receiver Julian Edelman who stepped up. Edelman didn’t possess the speed of Boyce or the perimeter skills of Dobson and Thompkins, but he did have the one thing that mattered… Tom Brady’s trust.

Edelman’s tireless work ethic and toughness was a key to the New England Patriots offense. His in-season development was truly remarkable.

After dealing with injuries for the early part of his career, 2013 proved to be Edelman’s coming out party.  Edelman rose to the occasion and took full advantage of the opportunity. In 2013 he transformed from a backup slot receiver with 69 total receptions in four seasons to one of the NFL’s premier receivers. He had a strong campaign, ranking fourth in the league with 105 catches while adding 1,056 yards (21st in the NFL) and six touchdowns. Edelman eclipsed the 100-yard plateau four times last season, and notched 10+ receptions in two games.

Edelman’s athleticism will never be confused with that of Calvin Johnson or Josh Gordon but in 2014 the diminutive slot receiver will continue to be a pass catching thorn in the side of his opponents’ defense.

Edelman does not have the build of a prototypical number one receiver, but neither did Welker. And Welker’s stature didn’t prevent him from being the Patriots all-time leading pass catcher.  Most importantly, Edelman became Tom Brady’s most dependable target.

It also doesn’t hurt that the Patriots have two of the brightest minds in football orchestrating the Patriots offense; quarterback Tom Brady and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels.

New England’s offense both systematically and effectively plays to Edelman’s strengths. McDaniels creatively develops ways for the shifty route runner to impact the game with his uncanny ability to create separation at the line of scrimmage.

As the first player in NFL history to record 105 receptions and 35 punt returns in a single season, Edelman has proven that he is valuable all over the football field.

So far in training camp the Patriots pesky slot receiver has one again has again been Tom Brady’s most efficient target. Edelman created havoc against the Washington Redskins secondary in joint team practices and has earned rave reviews so far this year.

The 28 year old was deemed important enough to be among a select few that head coach Bill Belichick held out of last week’s preseason opener at FedEx Field.

The six-year pro may not yet have everyone’s attention, but he has caught the eye of the Patriots’ prized offseason acquisition and one of the league’s best cover corners in Darrelle Revis.

 “I call him the Energizer Bunny because he never quits, .You can jam him one play and you try to get the toughness out of him, but he’s very tough. He has great mental toughness, as well. He’s very crafty. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s my teammate, but also he’s a great receiver in this league.””

Julian Edelman may not grab 100 receptions or even reach 1,000 yards in 2014, especially when you consider the impact of the return of Rob Gronkowski and the addition of Brandon LaFell. But it is obvious Edelman’s rapport with Tom Brady isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not like practice reps against “Revis Island” will stunt his development either.

Instead of a flash in the pan, look for even more sizzle from Edelman in 2014.

Tags: Julian Edelman

17 Responses to “2013 Was No Flash in the Pan for Julian Edelman”

  1. Jack says:

    I went to the practice today. It was good, I was talking to a season-ticket holder since 73 – it was enjoyable hearing all the stories. Tyms made some nice catches on Justin Green. Butler had a really nice pick where he managed to keep himself inbounds. It’s very clear they’re giving Finch a lot of attention on returns. They are taking him very seriously. Jemea Thomas made a nice leaping stab of a Garoppolo throw – he went vertical for it. Boyce didn’t suck at all, although he did have one bad drop. Brady loves the out routes where he gets to throw the ball before the guy turns, and he connected with Amendola on many of those.

    Mike Reiss came out with a roster prediction today. Mike seems like a wonderful guy, but he’s a bit conservative, and doyms) esn’t having Finch or Tyms making the roster, although Butler does. The way I see it, they both (Finch and Tare going to make it, with Bolden and Boyce out (although Tyms’ 4-game suspension will give them some time to mull it over). Also, I’d like to see Jemea Thomas make the roster ahead of Tavon Wilson. Although I still like Chung. But Thomas showed me something today with that pick.

  2. J H TARBORO says:

    Not to get off this subject, if we are looking for another big RB and due to depth and in watching the NY Giants game RB Michael cox would fit the bill if he was released. All the Giants RB are large.

  3. Stephen J says:

    For those that are interested here is a link for Brian Tyms times and measurements

    http://www.strongright.com/brian-tyms-mx-46184-11404.php

    Not sure what he has to do to stick around but he is off to a nice start.
    Some things possible could be see how he is when a cb is physical with him.
    As Mike Reiss noted he essentially had a free release at the line of scrimmage on all four catches in the final quarter – 53 yards, 11 yards, 15 yards and 26 yards. First-year cornerback Peyton Thompson of San Jose State was in coverage and Tyms really took it to him. A next step for Tyms will be to prove he can effectively and consistently get off the jam
    Line Tyms up against Browner and see what he can do.
    The other thing is consistency. Was that game a flash or has he turned a corner and that is what we can expect from him consistently. Also what can we expect from him with better competition. Has he gone against the likes of Browner Revis etc in practice or has he just gone against the likes of the Peyton Thompsons.
    Here is hoping BB found a gem that can consistently produce against top competition and stick around for a while to come.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    Bengals release WR Connor Vernon and Jeremy Johnson because of depth.

    • Russell says:

      I liked Connor Vernon and had him on my Patriot draft board. I watched him in person playing for Duke,.. more of a slot guy, good route runner, smart player. Wonder if Bill will take a chance on him?

  5. J H TARBORO says:

    Does anyone know what injury Jeremy Gallon has?

  6. J H TARBORO says:

    I hope they keep WR Brian Tyms over Brandon “Can’t Catch Lafell.

  7. MaineMan says:

    Even with the rules protecting WRs, the odds are against a guy seeing as many targets as Edelman did last year staying healthy for a full 16 games (which make Welker’s durability all the more astounding). But I did notice that Edelman appeared to be taking a page from Welker’s approach by getting as low as he could, as quickly as he could, after the catch – in order to minimize impact from incoming defenders – even if that meant only being able to dive forward for 2-3 YAC (something Welker turned into an art form). Amendola could take a lesson there.

    • Jack says:

      Dionne Branch was another guy like that. YACs carry an inherent risk – you could get blown up, you could fumble, one guy could stand you up while another takes a shot at the ball, or dives at your knees. Sometimes the smartest play is to lock up the gain instead of making more out of it, if guys are closing in on you and you’re not running free.

      • steve earle says:

        Always risks for WR’s but so often the YAC are really necessary to keep the chains moving. Players from Pop Warner up are coached to get all the yards possable then get out of bounds.

        • Jack says:

          Very true, Steve. YACs can be real game-changers. Also, it’s a situational thing. If you’ve got one yard to go for the first, even if you’re Dionne Branch you go for that extra yard. But if you’ve got first down yardage already and you know you’re going to hammered, you might want to hit the dirt and let the missles fly overhead.

    • Kevan says:

      Hey MaineMan are you familiar with the Portland area?






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