Next to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Julian Edelman might be the most beloved New England Patriots player in history.
On Monday night, he probably wasn’t quite as beloved. Edelman continued a disturbing trend for dropped passes, and one of them turned into a disaster. Predictably, Twitter unleashed a fusillade of finger-pointing and insults.
About Last Night…
The drop that got the most attention and drew the social media response came in the second half after Jarrett Stidham relieved a woefully ineffective Brian Hoyer in the second half. Stidham tried to hit Edelman in the flat, and the ball squirted through the veteran receiver’s hands and into the clutches of Tyrann Mathieu who proceeded to return it all the way for a pick-six, and a 25-10 Chiefs advantage. After the extra-point attempt, the Chiefs had a 26-10 lead which turned out to be the final score.
Here is a look at the play:
Julian Edelman led the NFL in drops last season. This is now his fifth this season, and the most costly one… pic.twitter.com/dT3B2WtuW1
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 6, 2020
This was indeed the most costly, but it wasn’t the only one of the night. Returning teammate and potential successor, Gunner Olszewski bailed his mentor out with this timely grab after yet another pass escaped Edelman’s grasp.
— Christopher Reiss (@ReissReport) October 5, 2020
After the pick-six, the Twitter hounds were unleashed, which included ESPN First Take star Skip Bayless, and WWE legend The Iron Shiek. I’m serious.
Julian Edelman led the NFL in drops last season. He just dropped his second tonight, right through his hands into Honey Badger's for a Pick Six. Down in Tompa Bay, Brady is nodding and shrugging. He knows.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 6, 2020
Edelman leads the NFL in drops since the start of 2018
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) October 6, 2020
I think Julian Edelman just bounced his rent check to The Landlord.
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) October 6, 2020
JULIAN EDELMAN JUST MADE JABRONI PLAY OF THE YEAR
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) October 6, 2020
When WWE Hall-of-Famers are taking time out of their evening to let you know you’re not playing well, you might be near rock bottom.
The Julian Edelman Drops
Last year, Edelman led the NFL in dropped passes with 10, and quite honestly, he appears to be on his way to keep this dubious crown. According to Pro Football Focus, Edelman already has five drops in 2020, and we’re just four games into the season.
At this rate, Edelman would double his total from 2019. This is clearly an undesirable trait for a guy who is primarily a possession receiver who makes his living securing tough catches and moving the chains between the hash marks.
Edelman Has Still Been More Good Than Bad
Even with his five dropped passes, Edelman is still leading the team in receptions with 18 and yards with 294. His 49-yard reception from Cam Newton is still the longest pass play of the season for the Patriots, and Edelman’s 16 first downs are also tops on the team.
That said, at some point, he’s going to have to decrease his rate of dropped passes if he wants to maintain the same level of confidence his quarterbacks have in him. Edelman is 34 years old and his body is seemingly beginning to break down a bit during the latter stages of an excellent career. It’s easy to look at the drops and attribute them to a declining skill set. That might be an issue indirectly, but at the end of the day, this has a lot to do with maintaining his concentration, seeing the ball into his hands before he attempts to take a step, and making the kinds of plays he has throughout his career.
Perhaps he is a little more tentative because he is nursing injuries and he’s not absorbing the hits quite as well. Who knows, but no one has to tell Edelman the drops need to stop.
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