Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Think the Patriots will have a 1,000-yard rusher or 1,000-yard receiver this season? I’m guessing no. The offense isn’t sharp, and there are no superstars. – Ian C.
Hmmm, that’s a good one. I think Antonio Brown would have done it had he been able to resist being a self-destructive, apparently horrible person for a few months. Gronk won’t come back soon enough to do it. (But I bet he comes back.)
A quick check by the research department here at Sports Q (in other words, me poking around pro-football-reference.com) reveals that the last time the Patriots didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver was … last season, when Sony Michel ran for 931 yards and Julian Edelman led the receivers with 850 yards.
The Patriots haven’t actually had a 1,000-yard rusher since LeGarrette Blount in 2016. Gronk was their last 1,000-yard receiver, in 2017. The Patriots are more about quality depth and balance than emphasizing getting the ball to – and certain milestones for – a couple of players.
But to actually answer the question, I don’t think anyone gets there. Durability is a question with Edelman and Josh Gordon at receiver. And Michel is well off last year’s pace, even with 91 yards and a strong second-half against the Redskins Sunday – he has 262 yards through five games this year. Last year, he had 293 through five weeks, but he had just four games played — he missed the opener with an injury.
Michel missed three games last year, but even if he plays the full 16-game slate this year, it’s going to be tough to get there without James Develin blowing holes in the line in front of him.
But what does everyone else think? Will the Patriots have a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver this year? I’ll hear you in the comments.