After Tom Brady left the Patriots back in March, (I know you’re tired of hearing about this, but bear with me…) a lot attention was put on Julian Edelman. Edelman’s close relationship with Brady led many to speculate the receiver might attempt to force his way out of New England to follow Brady and Rob Gronkowski down to Tampa Bay. It became evident as the offseason labored on that Edelman had other plans.
“He’s already got the red ass about this season.” reported Mike Giardi of NFL Network. “People thinking we’re no good and (that) he’s just a product of Brady.”
After it became clear Edelman was sticking in New England, people started questioning what kind of player he would be without Tom Brady. He certainly had his share of skeptics. Fans and media across the NFL doubted his ability to produce at the same level with a new quarterback:
Looks like Nick Wright’s Patriots takes are just as bad as his Celtics takes:— Guy Boston Sports (@GuyBostonSports) September 22, 2020
“Guys, we know what Julian Edelman is. He is obviously a product of Brady.” pic.twitter.com/vnmzyNDOja
Cam gets a taste of what Brady had to deal with last year. Perfect pass to Edelman, can't hold on. Edelman led the league in drops. Cam looks quick and powerful. But he'd better have more help than Brady did.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 13, 2020
Julian Edelman is Shit without Tom Brady.— The Dawgzilla (@TheDawgzilla) November 25, 2019
Julian Edelman is Cole Beasley without Tom Brady.— Marcus🙏🏿 (@MarcusJones_22) June 21, 2019
So far this season, Edelman is proving all of those doubters wrong. Through two weeks, he ranks 5th in the AFC in receptions, 3rd in the NFL in receiving yards (3 yards behind the league lead) and 2nd in the entire league in yards from scrimmage behind Aaron Jones. Edelman is one of the biggest reasons Cam Newton looks like a potential MVP candidate in the early part of the season.
Digging deeper into Edelman’s numbers, it becomes even more difficult to understand why anyone doubted his talent. In the first two games of the 2016 season in which Jimmy Garoppolo was Edelman’s quarterback, he caught 14 passes totaling 142 yards. Once Brissett took over his numbers dipped, but the rookie quarterback clearly wasn’t ready to run a real NFL offense.
Attributing Edelman’s accomplishments to Tom Brady was always ridiculous and unfair. Plenty of lowly drafted receivers have come through New England over the years and Edelman’s not the only college quarterback they’ve tried to convert to receiver. He’s just the only one that was any good. Hopefully everyone will start giving Edelman the respect he deserves for his many years of hard work to become the player he is today. A player who is not the product of Tom Brady, but the product of dedication and a passion for football.
Photo: (John Froschauer – AP Photo)