Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Jun 2013

ESPN: Patriots Can Succeed Without Hernandez

Without Rob Gronkowski? Now that's a bigger question.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Jun 2013

16 comments, Last at 27 Jun 2013, 11:29pm by chemical burn


by Abigail (not verified) :: Wed, 06/26/2013 - 5:04pm

Should have been called "Patriots can survive without Hernandez"

by VIciousChickenOfBristol (not verified) :: Wed, 06/26/2013 - 8:45pm

Days pass before they acknowledge that Hernandez was in trouble.

Seconds pass before they write an article saying it doesn't matter because PATRIOTS!!!

by RickD :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 12:38pm

a) you can go to TMZ for rumors. ABC News published a report last Friday saying that Hernandez was going to be arrested that day. Was that more to your liking? Turned out to be false.

b) Clearly an astute summary of a FO article. (I wish I could read it, but it's behind a paywall.)

by DragonPie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/26/2013 - 9:03pm

Of course they can survive. Not without water, but certainly without Hernandez.

by asdf (not verified) :: Wed, 06/26/2013 - 9:35pm

They can thrive without Hernandez, but can they thrive without him or Gronkowski.

by Mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 06/26/2013 - 10:01pm

Define success. Is it making the playoffs? Is it winning the division? Is it getting to the AFC championship game? Is it winning the Super Bowl? The first two may be likely (but not as likely as before), but I would say the last two are now very unlikely. I like the Bengals, Broncos, Texans and Ravens' chances better than the Pats right now, and that's just leaving the Steelers out at the moment, perhaps foolishly. And one of the supposed non-contenders will rise out of the ashes, like they do every year. It probably won't be one of their divisional rivals, but if Tannehill, Manuel or Geno Smith take off, all bets are off.

by Cadio (not verified) :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 5:45am

And Tebow has now a roster spot as TE ^^

by RickD :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 12:41pm

People keep saying this, but it's really a sign of disrespect to the other guys in camp who have actually played tight end for years. Yes, Tebow is a big guy. But that doesn't mean that he can block, run routes, or catch passes.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 1:30pm

I think most of this goes back to before his draft, when people were trying to hype him up as a high draft because he's a "football player" and a "winner" and all that other stuff. I remember Peter King writing that some team is going to pick Tebow early and then "pop the champagne". People wanted him to succeed, and those that knew it wasn't going to happen at QB I guess thought that H-Back is the next best option. Somehow, H-Back has morphed into TE as his career went along.

by longtail (not verified) :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 8:21am

Aaron Hernandez was a very good player but not an irreplaceable player. I wouldn't sweat it.

by jonnyblazin :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 9:07am

The loss of Hernandez shouldn't hurt the Pats ability to run up the score on teams like the Bills and Colts, as we found out last season. But Hernandez was the second leading receiver in both Pats playoff games, I think his versatility is valuable against top defenses.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 11:26pm

Yeah, it's weird how people keep bringing up Ballard, who is no way an analog to Hernandez. They're losing a guy they split out wide as another WR option at times and a decent, but plodding one-dimensional type like Ballard ain't gonna cut it as a replacement. In fact, there are few TE's in the league as versatile as Hernandez and, as you say, that's the real loss here when it comes to competing against contenders and not hapless chumps. Factor in all their other receiving game losses and it's tough to figure out what their offense is even going to look like in 2013, regardless of if the Welker/Amendola switch ends up being more or less a wash (which is obviously far from guaranteed.) They've lived off of match-up issues for years now and, at the moment, I don't see how they have to ability to cause those serious match-up problems any longer...

by Sisyphus :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 10:18am

It is not Hernandez as the article points out is is all the other missing pieces inthe passing game that have to be replaced. It is also that the parts that are there have some daunting injury history to get past. The availability of established weapons in the passing game will be an issue. Not mentioned in the article is that the Patriots used the tight ends to stretch the field and open up the underneath routes. Outside Gronkowski, who will likley have limited availability, it is not clear how that will work which could limit the functional offensive playbook.

by peterplaysbass :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 4:00pm

Brady - Welker - Gronk - Hernandez = low end QB2 in fantasy.

Although I wouldn't be THAT surprised if he somehow threw for 4200 yards anyways.

by Dean :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 5:33pm

I didn't read the article, but I think people in general are underestimating Daniel Fells. I always felt like it was a mistake for the Rams to cut him. He'll never be a star player or anything, but he's not a liability either.

In that system, he's not going to magically become a pro bowl player or anything, but he could easily catch 40+ passes and be a solid role player. In a world that caters to fantasy geeks, that's not going to excite anybody, but in the world of wins and losses, it'll go a long way towards filling a large portion of the void.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 11:29pm

They're dismissing Fells because the Patriots lost THREE star receivers (assuming Gronk has continued issues) this off-season and a guy cut by the Rams who even you say isn't magically going to become a Pro Bowler doesn't do anything to address that.