New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Monday “we have to find a different way” to replace injured wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is lost for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Edelman was injured in Friday night’s 30-28 win on the road against the Detroit Lions. The Patriots did not disclose a specific diagnosis, but later confirmed Edelman suffered an injury to his right knee and will miss the entire season.
“When you have that level of experience of game situations, practices, we’ve had so many hours of time together talking about routes and situations,” Brady said of Edelman during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI in Boston. “So much of quarterback-receiver relationship is about trust and I see things a certain way and the receivers need to see it the exact same way in order for me to really anticipate where to go with the ball. He and I just have had that. We’ve worked together since — this is our ninth year on the same team and talking about the same offense. We’re so in sync.”
Edelman was coming off a season in which he led New England with 98 catches for 1,106 yards and three touchdowns. He had another 21 catches for 342 yards and a score in the 2016 season’s march to another Lombardi Trophy, including a diving, finger-tip grab in the Super Bowl that is now known simply as The Catch in New England.
Edelman has been Brady’s most frequent target over the last four years. Edelman has made 356 receptions for 3,826 yards and 20 touchdowns in that span.
Beyond a now-healthy Rob Gronkowski, Brady must turn to wideouts Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola.
The first receiver Brady mentioned on the radio show was Amendola.
“We have to find a different way to do it. I mean obviously with Danny, I’ve had that [trust] with Danny,” Brady said. “Danny has been such a great player for us. Hogs [Hogan], he’s had a great camp. Brandin Cooks has done a great job. Malcolm, when he has been out there, I have a lot of trust in him.
“All the backs and tight ends, we’re just going to have to pick up the slack. The production has to come from a different place. I know Jules usually gets a lot of looks. Makes a lot of catches for us. It has to be distributed somewhere else. Injuries are tough. It’s part of the game and we just have to try and overcome it.”
Brady suffered his own season-ending ACL tear in Week 1 of the 2008 season, and he is confident the 31-year-old Edelman will be ready to go next year.
“He’s a tough guy, man,” Brady said Monday. “He’s fought through other injuries, nothing like I don’t think to this extent. He’s got a great work ethic. He’ll overcome it. I think people have gotten pretty good at overcoming these injuries — knee injuries, surgery and so forth. He’ll work hard. It happened in August, so whenever he has surgery, he will have a long time before next season starts. He will put the work in that is required.
“It’s a tough injury being through it. It happened to me going into my ninth year, and it happened to him going into his ninth year. I haven’t had any problems. Obviously, it is a different position, but he’ll overcome it.”
Jets claim DE Ealy off waivers from Patriots
The New York Jets are giving a shot to a castoff from a division rival.
Defensive end Kony Ealy was claimed by the Jets on Sunday, the team confirmed, one day after the pass rusher was waived by the New England Patriots.
A second-round pick in 2014, Ealy was acquired by the Patriots in a March trade with the Carolina Panthers.
“I just think it’s one of those things that didn’t work out or wasn’t going to work out,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Saturday after Ealy was waived. “Nobody’s fault. He worked hard. We worked hard. A lot of effort put in, but in the end, we didn’t feel like this was going to work out.”
Ealy, a cousin of Jets pass rusher Sheldon Richardson, joins a defense that recorded just 27 sacks last year. Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams sustained a sprained wrist on Saturday against the New York Giants.
The move raises an extra eyebrow simply because it involves the Jets and the Pats, but Ealy is just a flier at this point who is now on his third team in three years.
The Jets cleared a roster spot for the new acquisition by waiving defensive lineman Anthony Johnson, who is injured.
In three NFL seasons out of the University of Missouri, all with Carolina Ealy has 14 sacks, one interception and six forced fumbles. He was a second-round draft pick, 60th overall, by the Panthers in 2014.