While the soon to be Hall of Fame TE’s

While the soon to be Hall of Fame TE’s

retirement hurts the Patriots for the 2019 season http://www.patriotslockerroom.com/authe … guy-jersey , the need to find his replacement was already an urgent priority for the offseason."If you read the title correctly, yes I am making the claim that tight end Rob Gronkowski’s retirement should have very little bearing on the Patriots’ draft strategy. The reason behind it is the Patriots were likely already preparing for life without the future Hall of Famer given his high cap number, injury history, and previous talks of retiring.That day has come to pass, perhaps sooner rather than later. The only offseason move they’ve made at the position is signing Matt LaCosse from the Denver Broncos, although the latter is more of a move tight end than an in-line option like Gronk. The team was also linked to Jared Cook, who is reportedly close to signing with the New Orleans Saints. The core from the 2010s is aging, so the Patriots are likely to try to build up a new one of players for the next decade. From the leftover core of players drafted in the previous decade and that have three Super Bowl rings from this decade, these are the ages of those respective players: Tom Brady 42, Matthew Slater 34 Andre Tippett Jersey , Julian Edelman 33, Devin McCourty 31, Marcus Cannon 31, Dont’a Hightower 29, and James White 27.With that in mind, the Patriots have a need to be able to start finding replacements for them while they’re still playing at a high level to keep the talent pipeline moving. A soon to be 30-year-old Gronk was no different in this regard. Whether it’s a receiver or tight end, the Patriots do need to add a blue chip pass catching talent. That need already existed even before his retirement announcement on Sunday.The team’s most consistent pass catcher is Julian Edelman followed up by James White, who is more of a situational type player in terms of week-to-week snap counts. That’s not a knock on White himself, the Patriots have three playable running backs on the roster when you include Rex Burkhead, a jack-of-all-trades RB who is the perfect #2 back in any situation Womens Irving Fryar Jersey , and Sony Michel, a potential All-Pro talent at the position.After those two players, it’s open season on the pass catcher depth chart. Even had Gronk elected to not retire, the urgency to pick up that type of talent in the draft was still there with Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, and Matt LaCosse all scheduled to hit free agency after the 2019 season.Finding someone who can replace Gronk’s lost production will be difficult, as you don’t replace the greatest tight end to ever put on a uniform with just one player or even his replacements at the position. Gronk was one of those players that transformed an offense and the amount of attention he required opened up opportunities for Edelman and others. I expect the Patriots to shift more towards the offense they finished the season with: 21 personnel and pound the ball down the opponent’s throats with Michel and Burkhead being the primary ball carriers. Later today, the New England Patriots play their fourth and final game of the season against an AFC South opponent. In order for the team to improve its record against the division to 3-1, both sides of the football need to play a disciplined game against a Tennessee Titans team that fields one of the best defenses in the NFL and an offense that may not sit atop the statistical leaderboards but has still helped win four games so far this season.Let’s find out what the Patriots have to do to beat them.Be disciplined in the front sevenTennessee has one of the NFL’s most balanced offensive attacks: led by running backs Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry as well and quarterback Marcus Mariota, the team has not shied away from turning to its ground game to get the offense going — and the Patriots need to be ready for it as well today. Being disciplined up front in terms of technique and gap integrity therefore has to be a key for New England: the team can neither allow Lewis and company to get to the perimeter nor to open up lanes for Mariota to exploit as a ball carrier. If that happens and the Titans have to turn primarily to their inconsistent passing game to generate yards Color Rush Hjalte Froholdt Jersey , the Patriots’ chances of winning should look good. Don’t be afraid to go for the home runEven though safety Kevin Byard is one of the better players in the NFL at his position, New England should not be afraid to challenge Tennessee deep — especially on the side of the field where Malcolm Butler is lining up. While Butler is not as bad a player this year as his statistics suggest, the Patriots knows his weaknesses as well as anybody and should use this knowledge to their advantage. Trying to get a physically imposing player like Josh Gordon in one-on-one situations against Butler should be a goal for the team, and one that could field results.Win in the red zoneTennessee’s offense is one of the least productive in the NFL when it comes to scoring points, but it has still found some success in the red zone this season. Meanwhile, the team’s defense is arguably the best in the league at keeping teams from scoring touchdowns when backed up. Safe to say that the red area will therefore be a deciding factor of today’s game: if the Patriots offense can overcome its inconsistencies in this part of the field and the defense can continue following its bend-don’t-break principles, the team will have a successful day.

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