The loss of Rob Gronkowski has New England Patriots fans wondering about the weapons on offense in 2019 but they may be even better than they were before.
Following another Super Bowl victory for the New England Patriots, the 2019 NFL season has fans wondering when Tom Brady’s career will be over. Thankfully for New England, Brady is in line for yet another year as the starting quarterback. However, the big question has been who he’ll throw to.
With Rob Gronkowski electing to retire this offseason, with Chris Hogan suspended and with Josh Gordon still away from the team and unable to play, things have changed for the Patriots offensive skill position players. So who’s left to run the show with Brady in New England.
For starters, Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman is still prepared to be by the side of Brady as the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback’s No. 1 option. With a healthy Edelman, the Patriots are proven to be better than without. His effect on the offense can’t be overlooked. Some would even say Edelman is more important to the success of the Patriots (and Brady individually) than Gronkowski was.
In the backfield, running back James White is the answer that they’ll look to use for any questions that arise, like last year when the offense stumbled early in the year. Last season, White had a career-high 87 catches to go along with 751 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. With Gronk gone, White likely becomes the second most trusted pass-catcher for Brady.
Outside of Edelman and White, the rest of the skill position players are still relative newcomers to New England. At running back, Sony Michel returns as the starter following a very successful playoff run for the young stud. Had Michel played a full season as a rookie, he would have easily eclipsed 1,000 yards. For 2019, it would be hard to believe him doing anything less than that.
The other backs in the mix for the Patriots include Rex Burkhead and rookie Damien Harris out of Alabama, who New England selected in the third round. Harris can be great as an option to spell Michel and become a serious threat in his own right.
When it comes to the receiving corps, that group has seen a huge makeover. Now, the unit is perhaps the most talented the Patriots have seen in some time. 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry first joins Edelman after showing signs of dominance in college. With Dez Bryant comparisons for his jump-ball ability, Harry will surely become a red zone favorite of Brady’s.
There’s also Phillip Dorsett, who has officially re-signed with the Patriots and will be looking to win the third receiver spot. His competition will be former Pro Bowler Demaryius Thomas, whose 2018 season ended prematurely last season with a torn Achilles after landing with the Texans. His health is perhaps the biggest factor to watch.
Despite losing an all-time great weapon in Gronkowski, Brady has been working with this new cast of weapons to develop a rapport. If he can continue to do so, this could be one of the most dangerous groups that we’ve ever seen employed by the Patriots.