Monday, August 19, 2013
NFP on Patriots' new-look WR corps
By Mike Reiss
Writing the "Sunday Blitz" column on the National Football Post website, Len Pasquarelli leads off with the Patriots and the new-look receiver corps.
While there has been forced change at tight end, Pasquarelli notes that what the team has done at receiver is mostly by choice.
"The change basically was a conscious one, the conclusion to go younger, and potentially more explosive on the outside, largely a decision that was arrived at relatively early in the spring, after an extensive evaluation of the passing game," Pasquarelli writes. "Unlike the situation at tight end, over which New England had no control, it’s hardly coincidence that the Patriots have so many fresh faces at wide receiver.
"Yeah, maybe the changes wouldn’t have seemed quite as extensive had slot receiver Wes Welker stuck around instead of defecting to Denver. But even had Welker agreed to an extension, New England coaches and officials had essentially decided to get serious about the development of younger, quicker, more vertical outside receivers after several seasons of utilizing veteran stop-gaps and striking out on some young prospects."
Pasquarelli then turned to some statistics to support this line of thinking.
"The team’s yards-per-attempt mark – a stat far more critical to coaches and scouts than to most fans – was 7.56 yards [in 2012]," he writes. "That was the lowest for New England since 2008 [when it was 7.10 yards], the season in which Brady suffered a knee injury in the opener and Matt Cassel started 15 contests."