The New England Patriots have looked like a team in flux over the past few months. Players come in, players get cut, and some get hurt. Either way, it appears as if the New England Patriots are concerned with their passing game.
Wait a minute. Isn’t Tom Brady still the quarterback in New England?
Brady is still at the helm of the pats’ pass offense, but he doesn’t seem the same this season. It could be because he is on his backside more often than usual. You can thank the New York Giants for providing that blueprint.
I am not saying that Brady is declining. He still has a few great years ahead of him. This should be one of those years. And while the Patriots are averaging 26 points per game early in the 2012 NFL season, it is the ground game that has looked more impressive thus far.
And now, with one of the team’s two uber-tight ends in Aaron Hernandez out for the next 4-6 weeks, the Patriots are making more moves.
First, they brought back Deion Branch, who they cut right before the regular season after they acquired Greg Salas from the St. Louis Rams. They cut Salas after just 18 days.
See. Players coming, players going. And often they are the same players who both come and go for the same team.
Branch was brought in as the Patriots appear to be attempting to phase out Wes Welker. That strikes me as just a bit odd. I understand they have unhappy with Welker for talking about his contract status, but they are still paying him nearly $10 million in 2012. Why not at least make him earn some of that money and throw him the ball?
Either way, Branch is back. It is more to create depth on a team who will severely miss Hernandez who, was arguably the best pure receiver on the roster.
But Branch was not the only former Pro-Bowl player brought in to the mix for New England this week. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and more recently Seattle Seahawks tight end Kellen Winslow was signed by the Patriots to help them out in their two tight end sets on offense. Winslow was already brought in for workouts once recently, and now he has been signed by a team who stockpiles tight ends like a fat kid stockpiles Twinkies.
It is unknown if Winslow will step right into Hernandez’s role and play a big role from the start, or if he will play sparingly this week against the Baltimore Ravens and give way to Welker a little more as he, Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd get the majority of the looks.
It will depend on what type of game shape and mentality Winslow is ready for this week, as well as going forward, at least until Hernandez returns. After all, we have seen other talented players come to New England and simply be unable to pick up the offense.
Which side Winslow falls on will remain to be seen.
At this point, he is as much of an enigma as the entire Patriots’ passing offense.