Maybe Dion Lewis has a point.
The Titans running back and former Pats star blasted New England after Tennessee’s romp of a win on Sunday stating, “When you go cheap, you get your ass kicked.”
Lewis was clearly pointing to the fact that they let players like himself, Malcolm Butler and Danny Amendola leave via free agency this past offseason. The Pats also traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who is now thriving with the best team in the NFL in the Los Angeles Rams.
The Pats seem to be getting by OK without Lewis as Sony Michel, James White and even Cordarrelle Patterson have picked up the slack at running back. But it’s the departed receivers like Amendola and Cooks that are really hurting them right now.
Sure, Josh Gordon has looked great in his limited time here. But how much better would he look right now if the Pats had Amendola in the slot and Cooks joining him on the outside?
Bill Belichick has often gained praise for knowing “when to cut ties” with players. When a player becomes too pricey, Belichick simply lets them walk or sends them packing.
So far, however, it looks like he made a mistake with Amendola and Cooks.
Neither of them are putting up Antonio Brown-like numbers, but their stats this season with their new teams are consistent or slightly better with what they’ve done throughout their careers. Amendola has 47 catches for 456 yards through 10 games so far this year with the Dolphins. By comparison, he had 61 catches for 659 yards in 15 games last year for the Pats. Statistically, this year in Miami, he’s on pace to have his best season ever.
Cooks is also set to smash his career highs this year with the high-flying Rams. Cooks already has 51 catches for 857 yards in 10 games this year. Last year with the Pats, he had 65 catches for 1,082 yards.
Those numbers become even more embarrassing for the Patriots when you consider that their leading receiver so far this season is actually a running back. Yup, White is leading the Pats in receiving yards in 2018 with 562 so far on 66 catches.
Rob Gronkowski is always hurt. Julian Edelman seems to have lost a small step. And Chris Hogan has been MIA this season. Hogan is on pace for the worst of his three seasons with the Patriots this year as he has just 23 catches for 333 yards.
Brady seems to be shying away from targeting Hogan these days as he’s thrown to him just three times over the past two weeks. Hogan does not have a single catch the past two weeks.