The Packers are looking high and low for a productive slot receiver. Randall Cobb has gone downhill ever since Green Bay gave him a four-year $40 million contract after his great 2014 season. It’s doubtful that the Pack will re-hire Cobb in the off-season. Maybe, however, the front office can learn some things by watching the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
I recently posted something about a great Patriots’ receiver who had no business even playing in the NFL (see here). Wes Welker is now retired, but his spirit lives on in his clone: Julian Edelman.
Similar to Welker, Edelman is small: 5’10”. 195 pounds. He also wasn’t invited to the NFL combine. And his Pro Day numbers, other than his agility test times – were substandard. He wasn’t a hot prospect coming out of college (seventh-rounder). He played for Kent State – as a run-option quarterback. Once again, it was only the Patriots who thought he might be NFL material.
Tom Brady quickly gave him the nickname “minitron”, in contrast to “megatron,” the Lions’ gigantic Calvin Johnson. Julian, however, never embraced that moniker.
Edelman has played for New England for nine years, not counting 2017, which was lost to injury. After seldom being a starting receiver in his first four years, he broke out in 2013, with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. He nearly matched those numbers again in 2014 and 2016.
In 2018, he was again solid, with 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns – fine numbers for a slot receiver. He did this at age 32, the same age as Jordy Nelson when Packers’ GM Brian Gutekunst decided he was over the hill.
To appreciate the role of a slot receiver, watch Edelman in the Super Bowl. He and Welker are/were two of the best ever at the position. Look for Brady to go to him often on third down plays. A key reason the Packers have such a poor third-down pickup percentage (36.8% in 2018, ranking 23rd) is that they lack a productive slot man.
Edelman won’t be overlooked by Rams’ coach Sean McVay. As a receiver with Miami of Ohio, McVay faced off against QB Edelman and Kent State in both 2006 and 2007. He well knows Julian can beat you in many ways.
Packers fans might recall that last November Edelman accounted for 136 yards versus Green Bay: 71 via six catches, 28 on two runs, and 37 as a passer.
As a punt returner, Edelman has a sterling NFL career average of 11.2 yards. He’s also plays big in big games: he’s one of only two players with over 100 post-season receptions. Edelman also gets much of his yardage after making the catch – look for that against the Rams.
Some are describing the upcoming game, and head coaches, and quarterbacks, as old school vs. new school. But the creativity that Belichick and his staff bring to the game is anything but old.
Enjoy this contest between two worthy opponents.
Here’s what I’ll be watching for in the Super Bowl. Will Bellichik and the Patriots contain the Rams offense. If they can easily, then that does not bode well for the Packers whose coach comes from the same tree and will have a similar offensive strategy.
Here’s what I’ll be watching for in the Super Bowl, a really good entertaining game.
I will be under no illusion that the results of this game will be indicative of the future success of the Packers offense.
But hey, that’s just me, sometimes i’m out in left field.
Unfortunately, what a shit, boring game. Even the commercials sucked this year.
Yup 5’10 – 6′ and around 200 lbs is the prototype for an explosive #2 which Cobb was but hasn’t been for a few seasons.
And we could have had McDaniels…
Great call Rob…..Edelman…Mr. Clutch…MVP.
Indeed! You got that one, Rob.
Well Rob, wow, great call. A very well deserved Super Bowl MVP for Julian Edelman.
For so many years as the Packers kept sliding backwards I used to get so mad when someone would say, “We (Packers) always pick so deep in the draft order.” To which I always said, “Yeah, I know. Like the Patriots.”
I went to my favorite bar for a SB party. Lots of good folks to share the game with and plenty who wanted the Rams to win just because, they didn’t want another Patriots win. How can anyone deny how much good coaching and motivation goes into that New England team. How they continually get the most out who they have and smartly pick whom they need.
If anyone thinks the Packers are just a quick turnaround away, think again.
I would tend to agree. I think the possibility of a quick turn around is pretty low. Then again, the Saints did it.
What the Patriots have done in the FA salary cap era is unparalleled. And likely will never be replicated. I always thought that trying to compare what the Patriots have done to what the Packers should have done with Rodgers was not fair. There simply isn’t another Belichek and Brady combo out there. Sorry to say, AR is not Brady.
There is an article in the Chicago Tribune I tried to post the link to but apparently this site thinks it is spam. Basically it details the Patriots defensive game plan. Really good read.