Okay, so two players may not appear crazy on the surface. But the fans cried out for tight end production and what did Coach do? Scooped up two of the best tight ends out on the market at present.
And he didn’t just settle folks, oh no. He brought in over 63 targets – 41 receptions – 448 yard – 8 touchdowns in Jonnu Smith. He also brought in 87 targets – 60 receptions – 613 yards – 4 touchdowns in Hunter Henry. [2020 season stats from PFF.]
Can I take a moment? Have you seen this Hunter guy? He’s so solid looking, 6 foot 5, 250 pounds, a ‘don’t mess with me’ tight end if ever did see one. (Okay okay I’m done.)
Now not many fans mourn the loss of the tight endage departure from last season… I do, I was a hardcore Ryan Izzo fan, ready to stand on my box (I’m kinda short, you see) and fight. A lot of fans were puzzled at this. His production wasn’t very good for last season. However, I watched the guy play and he wasn’t as bad as his numbers gave out. There is also the fact that the quarterback wasn’t much for throwing. And most of all, he was a Patriots tight end and that is just my favourite position. Most fans have one (well, from my experience they do) and so I pledged my allegiance to one of the Patriots tight ends. Thus, it’s with a bit of sadness that I watch as number 85 leaves, and with it a little bit of my sparkle.
It has been bandied about that the match up of Smith and Henry could be likened to the combination of Gronk and Hernandez. But I mean come on who are we kidding? These guys aren’t Gronk, no one else will be and that is just something we need to move on from and well… We are!…
Smith is smaller, more athletic, something we haven’t really had in a tight end for a while, well we have had it in Devin Asiasi, we just haven’t seen it. Henry is taller, broader, more solid with good hands, a more traditional tight end might we say.
And so how can fans not be excited? Well the problem is a lot are concerned with the guy who generally throws or passes the ball….. I am still out with the jury on this one, I’m a pretty much an optimist (hey I was a Ryan Izzo fan, optimism is my middle name!) and so I feel maybe Cam Newton will have a great season, one that reflects his actual talent and not a ‘spotty Covid fog influenced late into the year signing’ mash up. But, we shall see.
It’s a pretty good bet that even with a lot of cash thrown onto the table some of the signings may not have happened if the Patriots only had cute lil’ Jarrett Stidham as QB1. I could be wrong, I probably am, but we can’t deny there is player respect for Cam Newton and Bill is a smart cookie. He’d know the impact that could have.
The Patriots have filled a lot of voids on the roster, and whilst not complete, there are plenty of draft picks to nab a few others. This also means that out of the ten draft picks they have they could possibly package plenty up to move around the board to maybe, just maybe, pick a high draft quarterback.
But as I write this, things are still moving. Could the Patriots abandon all ideas of drafting a quarterback and are in fact trying to get Jimmy Garoppolo or Deshaun Watson? Me, personally? I don’t think either are heading to New England but that’s just my two cents, I think Coach is going the draft way… but we only have just over four weeks to wait folks, on the edge of our seats!
– Clare L Cooper is a special contributor and columnist for Full Press Coverage Patriots and a writer for Pats Propoganda(.com). Her New England Patriots insight can be found @FPC_Patriots and her podcast ‘A Clare Perspective’ can be found on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker and most places from which you download your podcasts.