Finally, we have some context on Julian Edelman’s puzzlingly bad season

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Julian Edelman had one good game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. It might have been the most sensational regular-season game of his career, posting a career-high in receiving yards (179).” data-reactid=”6″>Julian Edelman had one good game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. It might have been the most sensational regular-season game of his career, posting a career-high in receiving yards (179).

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Take that game away and his season looks like a train wreck: 13 catches for 136 yards. His snap count is third-most among Patriots receivers, which put Edelman behind Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry. That’s a strange place for Edelman to be: beneath such inexperienced receivers. But his production wasn’t making a case for him to get more playing time, with Edelman averaging two receptions per game over the last four weeks.” data-reactid=”7″>Take that game away and his season looks like a train wreck: 13 catches for 136 yards. His snap count is third-most among Patriots receivers, which put Edelman behind Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry. That’s a strange place for Edelman to be: beneath such inexperienced receivers. But his production wasn’t making a case for him to get more playing time, with Edelman averaging two receptions per game over the last four weeks.

There was an obvious piece of context for Edelman’s flatline. He had been limited for the entire regular season with a knee injury. There was not a single Patriots practice when he could practice in full. You could see it impacting him on the field. He’d hobble when his knee got twisted on a tackle. He’d wince when putting pressure on his leg after a big hit.

And then there’s the latest news: Edelman had knee surgery on Thursday, and he will miss at least Week 8 and likely more games, per multiple reports.

That explains a lot. Maybe not everything. But it explains a lot.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="It would be surprising — even with the absence of Tom Brady — if Edelman’s physical decline came so quickly and precipitously. Perhaps this is the context we needed to understand where the receiver has gone in recent weeks. Maybe this is a sign that he might come back to contribute in more meaningful ways when he returns later this season.” data-reactid=”17″>It would be surprising — even with the absence of Tom Brady — if Edelman’s physical decline came so quickly and precipitously. Perhaps this is the context we needed to understand where the receiver has gone in recent weeks. Maybe this is a sign that he might come back to contribute in more meaningful ways when he returns later this season.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In the meantime, a healthy Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski can help buoy the offense, especially if N’Keal Harry (concussion) cannot play on Sunday. That’s likely what the Patriots hope, with the receiver position — and the passing offense as a whole — experiencing enormous struggles this season. They are fifth-worst in the NFL in passing yards per game (197.2), with a league-worst three passing touchdowns and a league-high 11 interceptions.” data-reactid=”18″>In the meantime, a healthy Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski can help buoy the offense, especially if N’Keal Harry (concussion) cannot play on Sunday. That’s likely what the Patriots hope, with the receiver position — and the passing offense as a whole — experiencing enormous struggles this season. They are fifth-worst in the NFL in passing yards per game (197.2), with a league-worst three passing touchdowns and a league-high 11 interceptions.

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