It’s time for Mohamed Sanu to step up and be a difference-maker for the New England Patriots.
There’s no magic fix for this struggling Patriots offense. And we can only sit here and ask rookies like Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry to do so much. If Julian Edelman is going to be the focal point for opposing defenses, moving forward, then somebody else on the Patriots offense is going to have to say, “Hey, Tom, you can count on me.”
That “someone else” needs to be Sanu.
Bill Belichick acquired Sanu in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons back in October, a full week before the NFL trade deadline. The Falcons received a second-round pick from the Patriots.
In other words, the Patriots gave up a lot, at least, a whole lot more than I thought they would give up — or would have to give up — for Sanu. There’s a difference, though, between giving up a lot, and giving up too much. Did Belichick give up too much for Sanu? Right now, it looks that way. But Sanu has a chance to change that.
The 30-year-old receiver is in his eighth NFL season. He’s played four games with the Patriots, who are 2-2 since the trade. In those four games, Sanu — who’s appeared on the injury report recently with an ankle issue — has 17 catches for 122 yards and one touchdown. That’s an average of four catches and 31 receiving yards per game, which is just not good enough.
Right now, the Patriots are in a strange spot. Their 10-2 record is tied for the best record in the NFL, yet, all we can do is wonder if this is Tom Brady’s last season in New England, or try to gauge Brady’s frustrations with the weapons — or lack thereof — that he currently has.
Rob Gronkowski’s retirement did them no favors. And injuries have, at times, put New England in a predicament, having to rely on a makeshift offensive line and young receivers that clearly aren’t yet ready to take the torch. Instead, those players keep finding a way to nearly put the torch out. But that’s why it’s time for a veteran like Sanu to step up and be that deep breath of fresh air that we all take at one point or another during a Patriots season.
You know, after that one drive, or after that one big passing play that has everyone in New England and around the league going, “There it is. The Patriots are back.”
Nobody says that when Stephon Gilmore intercepts a pass, or when Matthew Slater blocks a punt. Not that those aren’t game-changing plays. They are. But it does nothing to appease a crowd that needs to see Brady continue to be one of the league’s elite quarterbacks.
Brady is still that, regardless of what the stats might tell you. But right now, maybe more than ever before, he needs a little more help. Antonio Brown isn’t walking back through that door. Neither is Gronk. Which is why Belichick gave up a lot for Sanu.
Again, there’s a difference between giving up “a lot” and giving up “too much.” And with four critical games remaining in the regular season, it’s time for Sanu to make his mark and help send out the annual memo to the rest of a league that’s eager to crown a new champion:
The Patriots still exist.
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