Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels met with media on Tuesday and as you can imagine, there were plenty of Gronkowski questions to go around.
McDaniels mentioned multiple times how the experience of playing without Gronkowski early in the season will ultimately help the Patriots. The Patriots went the first six weeks without the big tight end and in that time, they featured their young wide receivers and in particular Kenbrell Thompkins.
Thompkins has lost reps in practice due to injury and his snap count is way down in games, but he was the guy the Patriots looked to early in the season. With Dobson still hobbled on a bad left foot, but returning to practice today, the chances of him being effective in Miami are small. This will leave a good portion of the snaps to go to Thompkins on the outside. Look for Thompkins and Dobson to be a big part of what the Patriots do in the coming weeks.
McDaniels also said the offense will be played differently, which is consistent with how different the offense looked the first six weeks of the season. The difference between this offense and the one from week’s one through six is the dynamic play of Shane Vereen.
Vereen has had a huge impact on this offense, being a check down guy when the pocket collapses and he is a huge plus for this Patriots offense. I wouldn’t expect this offense to look like they did in the first six weeks and, with a goal of clinching the AFC East for the fifth consecutive season, the Patriots should be amped and ready to go.