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Patriots: Is Julian Edelman getting less playing time because of drop issues?

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Is Patriots WR Julian Edelman playing less snaps because of his drop issues?

Patriots fans have been chomping at the bit for the franchise to pull off a trade for a star wide receiver or tight end (or both) ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline.

While quarterback Cam Newton has vehemently denied the notion that the offense could prove to benefit from adding a weapon, we’d love to see how he’d look with having a proven No. 1 wideout to target regularly. Going back to his tenure in Carolina, the former MVP has never really had that luxury.

It goes without saying that Julian Edelman is currently serving as the Patriots’ top WR, but he certainly hasn’t been playing like one. Outside of a vintage performance in Week 2 against Seattle’s non-existent secondary, the 34-year-old vet has tallied just 10 receptions for 115 yards in three games.

As evidenced by his 60% catch rate, Edelman clearly isn’t making the most of his opportunities, but that can also come down to his reduced playing time. In our eyes, it might be time to start asking if that has something to do with his drop issues.

Playing without Cam Newton, who was shelved on the COVID-19 reserve list, Edelman did nothing to help the Patriots’ backup quarterbacks, dropping two very catchable balls against Kansas City, one of which resulted in a pick-six and gave the Chiefs a 16-point lead with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation.

Edelman has now dropped 11 passes since the start of last season, which is three more than any other player during that span. As dreadful of a game as that was from the former seventh-round pick, his decreased snap count surprisingly became a trend back in Week 1, when he played just 58% of the time, which was his lowest since Week 3 of the 2019 season, when he left injured before halftime.

Prior to that, Edelman hadn’t played fewer than 60% of snaps in a single game since Week 16 of the 2016 campaign, when he played 49% in a 38-point drubbing of the Jets. For added context, the three-time champion played 87% of New England’s offensive snaps last year and played more than 90% in nine games.

In true leadership fashion, Edelman took full responsibility for his performance in Week 4 and is looking forward to the opportunity to atone for his miscues on Sunday against Denver, which is proceeding as scheduled in light of more COVID-19 controversy.

We’ll certainly be expecting a bounce-back game from Edelman, but Patriots fans should definitely keep tabs on his snap count as well. He’s popped up on the injury report seemingly all season, but a warrior of his stature, even at his age, wouldn’t let that slow him down.

Edelman’s reduced playing time is either due to his continued drop issues or the fact that he’s lost a step. Maybe it’s a combination of both, but we tend to lean towards the former as his miscues have cost the Patriots dearly since the start of last season.

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Buffalo Bills: Trent Murphy, Harrison Phillips inactive for Week 6

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Dawson Knox but he was joined by Harrison Phillips and Trent Murphy, who are two healthy scratches this week.

It was certainly surprising to see Phillips and Murphy being inactive as they have been key parts of the rotation at defensive tackle and defensive end. However, the pass rush has been lacking and the Bills could be trying to free up more playing time for players like Vernon Butler and Darryl Johnson who provide more in that area.

However, the Buffalo Bills also elevated two players, defensive tackle Justin Zimmer and defensive end Bryan Cox Jr., from their practice squad for this game. This certainly makes sense and expect to see both players on the field for this game.

Zimmer saw some playing time in Week 1 against the New York Jets and played well. As for Bryan Cox Jr. he has spent time with the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns. While he didn’t play for McDermott during his time in Carolina, he did play for Eric Washington who was defensive coordinator for the Panthers and is now the defensive line coach for the Bills.

Another surprise inactive this week is linebacker Matt Milano, who will miss his second straight game due to a pec injury. There appeared to be a good chance he would play this week after practicing in full on Saturday. He will be replaced once again by Tyrel Dodson, who likely will face the tough challenge of slowing down tight end Travis Kelce.

The absence of Knox also creates another chance for Tyler Kroft to see extended snaps. The last time Kroft started was in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams and he finished the game with two touchdowns.

Next: 4 under the radar players on the Bills to watch in Week 6

The other inactives for the Buffalo Bills are quarterback Jake Fromm, running back Zack Moss, and offensive lineman Quinton Spain.

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3 takeaways from Packers’ Week 6 loss to Buccaneers

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Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur – Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers lost their first game of 2020. Here are three takeaways.

The Green Bay Packers‘ undefeated run comes to an end.

For three quarters, the Packers were outplayed on both sides of the ball, eventually losing 38-10.

It was a disappointing end to an impressive winning run the Packers had made to start the season. What did we learn from Sunday’s defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

1. Turnovers and penalties are costly

In his entire career leading into this game, Aaron Rodgers had only thrown two pick-sixes. He threw a third and almost had a fourth in this game. Leading 10-0, the momentum swung Tampa Bay’s way when Rodgers threw a pass to Davante Adams, only to be intercepted by Jamel Dean 32 yards for a touchdown.

Only moments later, another pass for Adams was tipped and picked by Mike Edwards, who returned it 37 yards. The Bucs were set up on the Packers’ two-yard line and Ronald Jones ran in a touchdown.

All of a sudden, the Packers were down 14-10 and it felt like they went into panic mode. The game was far from gone, but after an efficient start, they fell apart on both sides of the ball.

And it soon became an undisciplined performance for the Packers. They gave up six penalties in the game for a total of 76 yards, while the Bucs didn’t have one. You could argue the Bucs were fortunate not to be called for a couple early on, such as a roughing the passer on Rodgers that wasn’t called, or an offsides that was missed on one of the interceptions. But that’s no excuse for the Packers’ own six penalties.

Hopefully, this was just one of those games. Turnovers and penalties hadn’t been an issue in the opening four games. They need to get back on track in Week 7.

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Colts’ horrific start against Bengals proves this is all on the coaching

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It’s now 24-21, but still. This shouldn’t be happening.

It’s safe to say we can blame the coaching staff, starting with Frank Reich, for this one. How you can you be this unprepared for a Bengals team that has won three games since the start of 2018? Why are we still not getting TY Hilton involved? Why are we relying on Jack Doyle to do anything productive? He literally fumbled the ball without anybody touching him to start this game.

The Colts are admittedly missing key players. Darius Leonard is out again. Mo Alie-Cox was ruled out. Daurice Fountain didn’t suit up either, and he was supposed to provide support for the WR corps. But that’s no excuse. This Bengals team has a rookie quarterback who is barely protected! The Colts have the best front-four rush in the NFL.

What is defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus doing? Why isn’t offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni trying to establish the run against one of the worst defenses against the run in the NFL? The Bengals allow an average of 159 yards per game on the ground through five weeks.

Screen passes to Doyle? SEVEN rushes in the first half? A fumble? Jonathan Taylor was the leading receiver before Philip Rivers hit Marcus Johnson on a 20-yard pass right before the end of the half. Come on, guys. This is a travesty. It’s clear the players have to execute, but they need to be given a top-notch game plan in order to do so.

They didn’t have one for the first 22 minutes for the second consecutive Sunday. The coaching staff needs to stop this, or else the Colts will be playing from behind all season long.

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