It wouldn’t be football season without the Patriots having the thinnest roster in the league. In yesterday’s 36-20 win in New Orleans, the Patriots lost more than they won.. With Gronk, Hogan, Dorsett, Burkhead, and Chung all being removed from the game for extended times, this may be the thinnest roster the Patriots have ever had.
While this may sound horrible, we all know the Patriots are gonna ball out anyway. Tom Brady will still be able to utilize Gillislee, White, Lewis, Allen, and the single most important piece, Brandin Cooks. The Patriots are an organization built around Wide Receivers that can do everything on the field. Without knowing how much longer Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell will be out, first-year Patriot Brandin Cooks will be the key to this offense.
Cooks has already gained Tommy’s trust, apparent by the type of targets Cooks is receiving, back shoulder and comeback routes. Cooks will have to use the trust of this team’s captain to gain the trust and respect of the other skill players. Brandin will be the Julian Edelman/Chris Hogan/Rob Gronkowski of this team until further notice, and this can go one of two ways. With the natural talent that Brandin Cooks has, I see this all working out fine. I see Cooks leading this offense with 10+ targets, 75+ yards, and at least one touchdown. Brandin Cooks has the speed, hands, and route running skills to be a top 5 receiver in the league, and I believe he will prove that in the coming weeks.
On the other hand, maybe Brandin Cooks doesn’t know the playbook and system that well yet. I don’t see this being the case after all the praise from his teammates and coaches. If this were to happen though, New England would be in a tough situation. Even if they struggle for only two games and lose both, that sticks them at 1-3. We all know this isn’t the end of the world, especially for Tom Brady, but this does, however, put a damper on the cake walk to the 1-seed.
As of now, the Raiders and Steelers are the only teams with a chance of threatening the Patriots, and both of these teams could easily be 3-1 if not 4-0. This leaves no room for Patriots error, and will require going undefeated and the harder part, staying healthy for the rest of the season. Realistically, we all know New England always has and always will work through injuries, but this is important for Brandin Cooks. These next games will solidify his status as a top receiver in the league and help his chances of re-signing with the Patriots when it comes time to do so.