Patriots WR Julian Edelman is looking at a probable four-game suspension for being in violation of the NFL PED policy. ESPN was the first to break it. NFL Network followed.
As a few have already pointed out, the Pats are incredibly deep at WR this offseason and Edelman missing the first four games will give someone else a shot. However, continuity is king in the NFL and many an NFL player has lost their career while sitting on the bench due to injury or suspension. The team will miss his veteran leadership and savvy, but have the talent to handle the hit.
The team, however, has to start feeling these body blows after awhile. The Super Bowl loss hangover. The hanging questions about why Butler was benched and if Belichick’s ego got in the way of another Lombardi Trophy. The fallout between Belichick and Brady’s trainer. Brady training away from the facility this season, missing OTA’s. Then the Gronk deciding to do the same and making it plain he would like a better contract. Both key players missing voluntary OTA’s has, to my knowledge, never happened under Bill Belichick. You think I took note? I guarantee you, whether they will admit it or not, every Patriots watcher has taken note.
This has not been a normal Patriots-like offseason and it can all be traced back directly or indirectly to the decision to sit Butler in the Super Bowl while the Eagles backup QB carved up the Pats secondary. More importantly the decision to not explain the decision. When you’re winning you can get away with that stuff. When you’re winning.
The Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll can point to his decision to pass the ball at the goal line vs the Patriots in the Super Bowl while they had All-World RB Marshawn Lynch in the backfield as to the moment he lost most of his critical team leaders. They were not only baffled by the coaches decision to pass the ball in that moment but also with his non-explanation. After all, he had asked and the players had delivered with his team-first mantra, then in the biggest moment, he pushes his personal desire of wanting his QB to be the hero but later refused to own it. His key players, one by one, all had a “say what?” moment and are now elsewhere as they had begun to publicly question the coach and his methods.
Are we seeing the same thing in Foxborough? Belichick has stood firm, as is his want, but he currently has battles ongoing with his QB, TE, 3rd-party trainer and anyone who wants to ask him about Butler. Not one of those things is helping them win games in 2018.
Belichick has been a master at avoiding offseason and off-field distractions during his tenure as Patriots head coach. However, he may be facing his biggest challenge yet and one has to wonder if he will slog through it playing the cards he has or if like the Seahawk’s Carroll, at a certain point, he decides it’s time to move on from these players. It’s not like Belichick is afraid to trade a talented player with plenty of gas left in the tank.
The very un-Patriots like offseason continues.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over