The Pats reached another Super Bowl last year but didn’t come away with the W. The strongest team in football in the last 16 years is still roaring ahead, but there are some possible obstacles to overcome in 2018. Tensions between head coach Bill Belichick and some big-name players as well as a key suspension may be a thorn in the side of the New England team this year.
Patriots Nation now has the answer to whether star wide receiver, Julian Edelman, can start the 2018 season. Unfortunately for the New England faithful, Edelman’s suspension for performance enhancing drugs was upheld.
There was some hope that the suspension would be overturned as it was unclear which substance it was that was found in Edelman’s system. But it was determined by the NFL that the substance in his system falls under the category of performance enhancing drugs.
So the Patriots can expect to be without Edelman for the first four match-ups in 2018. The Pats are slated to face Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Miami in the opening games of the upcoming season.
What Does This Mean For The Patriots?
Although the loss of Edelman for the first quarter of the season is a blow to New England, the team did fine with out him last year. Brady once again led his team to the Super Bowl, (the eighth time since his 2002 debut) this time losing to Philadelphia 41-33. Edelman missed the entire season due to an ACL injury. The Patriots clearly proved that they can perform without their star wide receiver but without Edelman on the field it does mean that more pressure is put on players at other positions.
Gronk is known for his big personality on and off the field. He’s built like a truck and a formidable presence at tight end. With Edelman out last season, Gronkowski saw more action. And in football, more action means more hits, more tackles, more wear and tear on the body.
At the end of last season Gronk announced that he was considering an early retirement. He’s only been in the league since 2010, a mere seven seasons. But as the world is becoming more knowledgeable about head injuries and stress put on the body through repeated collisions, it’s now more common for players to retire earlier.
Along with concern for the future state of his health, Gronk has hinted at tension with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. But he has nonetheless decided to continue playing at least for another year.
It’s great news for the Patriots. Gronkowski had an amazing season last year. He caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards. Arguably the best tight end in the game, he’s caught 76 touchdown passes in his career. That’s more than any other player since 2010 when he started his career.
The Patriots organization has faith that Gronk can put his concerns aside and get focused on a new season. With Edelman out for the first four games, it’s essential that he is able to perform.
Anyone who’s watched football in the past decade and a half knows of Brady’s many triumphs. But the star quarterback is getting older. At 40 years old he’s getting to be one of the oldest quarterbacks around. Some say that with his diet and work out regimen he can maintain his health and play another four or five seasons. So far, his quality of play has not diminished since his rise to fame against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. But Belichick is known as a cutthroat decision maker and won’t keep Brady around if his game slips.
Nobody in Patriots Nation wants to see Brady go. He’s the most beloved player of his generation. But the 2018 season may be telling as to how long he has left at the helm of the New England offense.
It may be a trying season for the Pats with Edelman out at the start, Gronk unsure where is head is at, and Brady crossing the 40 mark. But Patriots fans know anything it’s that Brady and Belichick can find a way to win under practically any circumstances.