In case you missed it last week, the Patriots lost a football game. Much has been made of the total meltdown of their defense at the hands of a new-look Kansas City offense. But their offense looked about as bad as an offense can look while scoring 27 points. They could not convert short-yardage third or fourth downs and Tom Brady missed more receivers than most of us can remember.
In what was considered a “bad” day for Brady, Brandin Cooks caught three passes for 88 yards, which is a good day for most receivers. Had Cooks caught any one of his other four targets, he would have cracked 100 yards. Danny Amendola got 100 yards on six completions before he left with a concussion.
But Chris Hogan was among the more disappointing receivers, connecting on only one eight-yard pass out of five throws intended for him. What will that do to Brady’s confidence in Hogan or, for that matter, Bill Belichick’s faith in the receiver? Dwayne Allen was uncovered on the first play of the game but failed to hold onto his first target as a Patriot. I do not remember hearing his name the rest of the night.
Was it Hogan’s fault?
As we mentioned, Brady missed a lot of targets in the game. Rob Gronkowski also failed to catch four passes (out of six targets) on the night. No one thinks Brady will stop throwing to his big tight end. And while Gronkowski was being effectively covered by Eric Berry all night, Hogan was getting blanketed by top cornerback Marcus Peters.
But, Brady overthrew Hogan at least twice when he managed to get free. Brady has a good memory and a lot of pride. He knows he contributed to a bad night for one of his favorite targets. I believe Brady will go to Hogan early in this week’s game to reestablish that connection.
Brady also knows that this week’s opponent is not likely to do as effective a job in covering his multiple downfield threats. The Patriots visit New Orleans this week to play a Saints team that allowed 18 catches to wide receivers being thrown to by Sam Bradford. Nothing against Bradford, but Brady and the Patriots wideouts, including Chris Hogan, must be salivating.
It almost seems unfair that the Patriots had three extra days to work on their offensive gameplan while the Saints come off a Monday night game.
The verdict is…
Amendola is probably out for the game with the concussion as well as a knee injury. That makes Hogan the theoretical WR2 in the Patriots’ arsenal. With Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell gone, Phillip Dorsett and Matthew Slater are the only remaining wide receivers behind Cooks and Hogan.
So yes… Chris Hogan is a must-start in Week 2. These are the top two scoring offenses since 2010. Even with the New England defense having extra time to prepare, Drew Brees will force Tom Brady to put up lots of points- both game points and NFL fantasy points- come Sunday. Hogan will undoubtedly account for a good chunk of them.
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