Then and now.
One year ago, the Pats were in AFC Championship #3 in a row. The pundits were calling out the WR corps as the weakness of the team. This year, in #4 in a row, such talk is muted. But is it true? Let's compare.
Last year, our top 5 was: Edelman, Amendola, Dobson, KT, Boyce.
This year, it's Edelman, Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Brian Tyms, and you can call Boyce 5.
Note that as Gronk is a TE, he is not part of this comparison!
How do they compare?
Well, we can compare each guy last year to his equivalent this season:
Edelman compares to himself. Last year he played 16 games, had 105 catches for 1056 yards and 6 TD. This year he played in 14 games and had 92 for 972 and 4 TD. Basically, Minitron was Minitron both years.
Danny had 54 for 633 and 2 TDs last year. This year he has 27 for 200. Danny's had much less impact and Gronk basically stole his touches (and lets not forget LaFell has a propensity for PI on long Amendola catches). Last years Danny was better.
Dobson's role last year has been taken by Lafell this year. Dobson had 37 for 519 and 4 TD last year. LaFell has 74 for 953 and 7 TD. LaFell clearly is a production upgrade and it gets worse as you'll see. The move to LaFell was an upgrade as far as we can tell. However, since Dobson played very little, we don't know how he would have developed.
KT's role was taken by Tyms. Last year, KT had 37 for 466 and 4 TD. This year Tyms has 5 for 82 and 1 TD.
Two things from this: First, KT had 6 for 52 in 2 games with the Pats. He also added 15 for 209 for Oakland. So, KT's total is 21 for 261, blowing Tyms out of the water. The move to Tyms was a downgrade. To be honest, I was shocked Tyms had 5 catches. I'd guessed two before I looked it up.
Secondly, LaFell has taken the targets of both KT and Dobson! That's impressive.
Finally, Boyce had 9 for 121 last year, and nothing this season. He was mostly on the practice squad.
So, Julian's been great over 2 years. Danny's regressed but is solid on special teams. LaFell has been outstanding, even given his slow, terrible start, and we've gotten very little out of WR4. Next year, if we give Tyms snaps to Dobson (or Tim Wright), we could be even more dangerous
"False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.